Researchers have found that more extensive surgeries may be best for patient survival of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
Typically, GBM’s are treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy but the best combination of these treatments is not clear. Current surgical options range from more moderate surgery where not all the tumor is removed (partial resection) to attempting to remove all visible cancer (total resection).
According to one expert, GBM’s are difficult to treat because it is challenging to determine where the tumor ends and normal brain tissue begins. Therefore, approaching a surgery aggressively to remove “all” of a tumor has risks, such as paralysis and loss of speech.
In the study, researchers analyzed data form 37 previous studies, which included over 41,000 GBM patients, to determine if a moderate or more aggressive surgical approach is best for the patient. They found that total tumor removal increased the odds of one-year survival by 61 percent compared to partial removal. Two-year survival was increased by 19 percent after total removal.
The study suggests that when clinically feasible, GBM patients should have their tumor completely removed.