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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2005 Oct 7;130(40):2270-4.

[Standards and new developments in the chemotherapy of glioblastomas].

[Article in German]

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Hertie-Institut für Klinische Hirnforschung, Abteilung Allgemeine Neurologie, Zentrum Neurologie, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen.


For 25 years involved-field radiotherapy has remained the mainstay of postoperative treatment for glioblastoma. In contrast, the role of adjuvant chemotherapy in addition to radiotherapy has remained controversial. A recent randomized multinational phase III trial (EORTC 26 981/22 981/NCIC CE.3) assessing concomitant and adjuvant chemotherapy with the alkylating agent, temozolomide, in addition to radiotherapy in newly diagnosed glioblastoma defines an increase in median survival from 12.1 months with radiotherapy alone to 14.6 months with radiochemotherapy and an increase in the 2-year survival rate from 10 to 26 %. Subgroup analysis revealed that the gain in survival in the experimental arm was largely achieved in patients with glioblastomas which exhibited a methylation of the promoter region of the O (6)-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) gene and thus did not express MGMT. MGMT is a DNA repair enzyme which repairs DNA lesions induced by chemotherapy with alkylating agents. The cellular MGMT stores are consumed during DNA repair, suggesting that temozolomide itself may deplete MGMT and thus overcome its own most important pathway of resistance. EORTC 26 981/22 981/NCIC CE.3 thus defines a milestone in the treatment of glioblastoma and will provide a platform for further efforts at improving the outcome for patients suffering from this still invariably fatal neoplasm.

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