News | Radiation Oncology | July 01, 2015

Survival Rates Up for Adult Patients with Low-Grade Brain Tumors

UC San Diego study suggests evolving chemotherapies improving results without early radiation therapy

low-grade brain tumors, gliomas, UC San Diego, survival rates up, adults

July 1, 2015 - Significant strides have been made in improving the survival of adult patients with low-grade gliomas, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. The scientists used clinical data collected over the past decade through a U.S. cancer registry for their research on the slow-growing yet deadly form of primary brain cancer. The findings are published July 1 by Neuro-Oncology: Clinical Practice.

Because of the rarity of low-grade gliomas, the disease remains understudied. The optimal management strategies for these tumors also remain controversial. Decisions of when and whether to administer radiation, what type of surgery to perform, and what type of chemotherapy to use, if any, varies widely among physicians.

"An understanding of how our treatments affect the survival of low-grade glioma patients will better enable us to help these patients," said senior author Clark C. Chen, M.D., Ph.D., vice chairman of research and academic development, Division of Neurosurgery, UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, a national cancer registry sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, Chen's team demonstrated that the median survival of patients afflicted with low-grade gliomas increased from 44 months (in 1999) to 57 months (in 2010). This is the first time that such increased survival has been reported.

The study suggests that the survival improvement is due to the development of more effective chemotherapies. Interestingly, the improved survival occurred despite a decreased use of radiation therapy at the time when low-grade glioma is first diagnosed.

"The decrease in the use of radiation started in 2005, concomitant to the publication of an important European randomized control study that demonstrated no significant survival benefit whether radiation was delivered at the time of diagnosis or later in the clinical course," said Xuezhi Dong, the study's first author.

While many previous studies suggest that complete excision of low-grade gliomas is associated with longer patient survival, this latest study found that only about a third of U.S. patients underwent complete surgical resection. Notably, this number remained unchanged throughout the past decade.

"The lack of improvement in surgical resection is likely limited by the availability of technologies, such as intra-operative MRI [magnetic resonance imaging], to allow surgeons to perform maximal surgical resection," said Bob S. Carter, M.D., Ph.D., chief of neurosurgery at UC San Diego Health. "The completion of an advanced surgical suite with an intra-operative MRI at Jacobs Medical Center in 2016 at UC San Diego Health will afford us an unprecedented opportunity to achieve maximal surgical resection of low-grade glioma and set forth new surgical standards for the care of this patient population."

For more information: www.som.ucsd.edu

Related Content

Doctor-Patient Discussions Neglect Potential Harms of Lung Cancer Screening
News | Lung Cancer | August 15, 2018
August 15, 2018 — Although national guidelines advise doctors to discuss the benefits and harms of...
Videos | Radiation Therapy | August 13, 2018
ITN Editor Dave Fornell takes a tour of some of the innovative new technologies on the expo floor at the 2018 America
Videos | Radiation Therapy | August 13, 2018
A discussion with Mahadevappa Mahesh, MS, Ph.D., FAAPM, FACR, FACMP, FSCCT, professor of radiology and cardiology and
Videos | Proton Therapy | August 10, 2018
A discussion with Matthew Freeman, Ph.D., scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico.
Videos | Radiomics | August 09, 2018
A discussion with Martin Vallieres, Ph.D., post-doctoral fellow at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
Cardiac Imaging Reveals Roots of Preeclampsia Damage in Pregnant Women
News | Women's Health | August 07, 2018
Johns Hopkins researchers say a heart imaging study of scores of pregnant women with the most severe and dangerous form...
Cardiac Monitoring a Higher Priority for High-Risk Breast Cancer Patients
News | Cardio-oncology | August 07, 2018
August 7, 2018 — While heart failure is an uncommon complication of...
Videos | AAPM | August 03, 2018
Ehsan Samei, Ph.D., DABR, FAAPM, FSPIE, director of the Duke Un...
Videos | Artificial Intelligence | August 01, 2018
A discussion with Steve Jiang, Ph.D., director of the medical...
Videos | Radiation Therapy | August 01, 2018
This is an example of how Cherenkov radiation glow can be collected with image intensifier cameras during radiotherap
Overlay Init