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Can J Neurol Sci. 2008 May;35(2):192-7.

When temozolomide alone fails: adding procarbazine in salvage therapy of glioma.

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Division of Radiation Oncology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal Neurological Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



Since temozolomide (TMZ) entry into routine practice in the first-line management of glial tumors, post-TMZ recurrences present a growing challenge. Without standard chemotherapy for TMZ failure, care in such palliative settings requires consideration not only of efficacy but of toxicity and convenience.


At our institution, a combination regimen has been used: oral alkylating agents procarbazine (PCB) (100-150 mg/m2/day) and TMZ (150-200 mg/m2/day) administered on days 1-5 of a 28-day cycle. This treatment has been initiated upon radiological and/or clinical disease progression, and continued until evidence of further progression or toxicity. We retrospectively reviewed our experence with this regimen.


Since November 2004, 17 patients (median age 53) were treated for histologically confirmed glioma (glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), N = 12; Grade 3 glioma, N = 3; Grade 2 glioma, N = 2) after a median of 2 recurrences. TMZ was previously given either as adjuvant therapy (post-chemoradiotherapy maintenance in 8 of 13 cases) or as salvage monotherapy (4 cases). Of 16 evaluable cases, 14 (13 high grade tumors) showed O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation. Two patients achieved partial response and one had complete response by RECIST criteria. Disease progressed after a median of 4 cycles (range 1 to 11+), with an actuarial progression-free survival of 42% after 6 cycles. Grade 3/4 toxicity was rare, and no dose reductions were needed. One patient discontinued treatment due to procarbazine hypersensitivity.


Combination PCB-TMZ is well-tolerated, with modest activity in TMZ-exposed glioma.

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