Chemotherapy after radiotherapy improves survival for patients with anaplastic glioma
Giving chemotherapy after radiotherapy increases the survival rate of patients with anaplastic glioma by delaying further growth of the tumor. A phase III clinical trial, conducted by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), investigated 750 patients from around the world. These patients were believed to be less likely to respond to chemotherapy because they did not have mutations in two genes called 1p and 19q.
However, the researchers found that tumor growth was halted for 43 months after treatment for patients who were given chemotherapy after radiotherapy. In contrast, the tumor growth was halted for only 19 months for patients who only had radiotherapy. The delay in tumor growth in patients given chemotherapy after radiotherapy resulted in a 56 percent five year survival rate, compared with 44 percent for those that did not have chemotherapy.
This study is
significant in that it demonstrates that the timing of chemotherapy is important. Giving chemotherapy after radiotherapy significantly improved survival of patients as compared to those that were only treated with chemotherapy at the same time as radiotherapy. This study is improving the standard of care for patients with this tumor type and will guide future treatment decisions.