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Neurologist. 2006 Nov;12(6):279-92.

Glioma therapy in adults.

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Division of Cancer Neurology, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Center For Neuro-Oncology, Dana Farber Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



Gliomas are the most common type of primary brain tumor. Nearly two-thirds of gliomas are highly malignant lesions that account for a disproportionate share of brain tumor-related morbidity and mortality. Despite recent advances, two-year survival for glioblastoma with optimal therapy is less than 30%. Even among patients with low-grade gliomas that confer a relatively good prognosis, treatment is almost never curative.


Surgery and radiation have been the mainstays of therapy for most glioma patients, but temozolomide chemotherapy has recently been proven to prolong overall survival in patients with glioblastoma. Intriguing data suggests that activity of O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), in tumor cells may predict responsiveness to temozolomide and other alkylating agents. Novel treatment approaches, especially targeted molecular therapies against critical components of glioma signaling pathways, appear promising in preliminary studies. Optimal treatment for patients with low-grade gliomas has yet to be determined. Advances in oligodendroglioma biology have identified loss of chromosomes 1p and 19q as powerful indicators of a favorable prognosis. These same changes may predict response to chemotherapy.


Though the prognosis for many patients with gliomas is poor, the last decade produced a number of important advances, some of which have translated directly into survival benefits. Rapid progress in the field of glioma molecular biology continues to identify therapeutic targets and provide hope for the future of this challenging disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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