For patients with recurrent glioblastoma (glioblastoma that has returned after initial treatment), researchers have developed a tool that helps predict outcome after surgery. These findings were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most common and fatal types of primary brain cancer. It develops from the glial cells, which are the most abundant cells in the nervous system. Glial cells provide supportive functions that facilitate the work of neurons (cells that transmit impulses between the brain, spinal column, and nerves).
Treatment for GBM often involves surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy with Temodar® (temozolomide). Even with aggressive initial treatment, however, GBM often recurs.
In some cases of GBM recurrence, additional surgery may be considered in order to remove all or as much of the tumor as possible. This can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life, and provide access for targeted treatment. Since surgical procedures for the treatment of brain tumors can be complicated and may involve significant risk, researchers are interested in evaluating strategies to predict outcome after surgery.
In this study, researchers sought to develop a preoperative scale that would help to predict survival in patients undergoing surgical treatment of recurrent GBM. Data were analyzed for 34 patients with recurrent GBM who underwent surgery. The scale that was developed from these data was then validated in a separate cohort of 109 patients.
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Factors linked with poor outcome were greater tumor involvement of critical brain regions, poor performance status, and larger tumor volume. By assigning points to each factor, patients were categorized on the basis of expected outcome (see Table).
Table: Preoperative scale to predict outcomes for surgical treatment of recurrent GBM
The researchers concluded that this preoperative scale may provide useful information for recurrent GBM patients who are considering surgery.
 Park JK, Hodges T, Arko L, et al. Scale to Predict Survival After Surgery for Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2010;28:3838-3843.