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Ann Oncol. 2003 Dec;14(12):1715-21.

Phase II study of primary temozolomide chemotherapy in patients with WHO grade II gliomas.

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Neuro-Oncology Unit, The Royal Marsden NHS Trust, and Academic Unit of Radiotherapy and Oncology, The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey, UK.



The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of temozolomide in patients with World Health Organisation (WHO) grade II gliomas treated with surgery alone using imaging and clinical criteria.


Thirty patients with histologically verified WHO grade II gliomas (17 astrocytoma, 11 oligodendroglioma, two mixed oligoastrocytoma) following surgery 2-104 months (median 23 months) after initial diagnosis received temozolomide 200 mg/m(2)/day for 5 days, on a 28-day cycle, for a maximum of 12 cycles or until tumour progression. Median age was 40 years (range 25-68 years). Median follow-up from entry into the study was 3 years [range 23-47 months (for patients alive)]. Objective response was assessed by 3-monthly magnetic resonance imaging and monthly health-related quality of life (HQoL) and clinical assessment. Tumour size was measured as the high signal intensity area on fluid attenuated inversion recovery sequences. Responses were assessed using change in the product of two perpendicular diameters as complete response (CR), partial response (PR), minimal response (MR), stable disease (SD) and progressive disease (PD).


Twenty-nine of 30 patients entered into the study were evaluable for response. Three patients had a PR, 14 MR, 11 SD and one PD. Twenty-four patients received 12 cycles of chemotherapy. Of 29 evaluable patients, three discontinued after four, five and six cycles and two after 10 cycles. Nine patients progressed (three during chemotherapy-one PD and two initial SD-and six after completion of chemotherapy); five had evidence of transformation. The 3-year progression-free survival was 66%. Five patients died; the actuarial 3-year survival was 82%. Ninety-six per cent of patients with impaired HQoL had improvement in at least one HQoL domain. There was improvement in 115 of the 207 domains (56%). Fifteen of 28 patients (54%) with epilepsy had reduction in seizure frequency, of whom six became seizure free. Six patients had transient grade III/IV haematological toxicity (11 episodes; 3.5%).


Temozolomide has single-agent activity in patients with WHO grade II cerebral glioma, with modest improvement in quality of life and improvement in epilepsy control. On present evidence, temozolomide cannot be considered as primary therapy without formal comparison with other treatment modalities.

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