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Neuro Oncol. 2012 Jun;14(6):798-807. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nos081. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Radiotherapy and temozolomide in anaplastic astrocytoma: a retrospective multicenter study by the Central Nervous System Study Group of AIRO (Italian Association of Radiation Oncology).

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Radiotherapy Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Careggi, Viale Morgagni 85, 50134 Florence, Italy.


Although the evidence for the benefit of adding temozolomide (TMZ) to radiotherapy (RT) is limited to glioblastoma patients, there is currently a trend toward treating anaplastic astrocytomas (AAs) with combined RT + TMZ. The aim of the present study was to describe the patterns of care of patients affected by AA and, particularly, to compare the outcome of patients treated exclusively with RT with those treated with RT + TMZ. Data of 295 newly diagnosed AAs treated with postoperative RT ± TMZ in the period from 2002 to 2007 were reviewed. More than 75% of patients underwent a surgical removal. All the patients had postoperative RT; 86.1% of them were treated with 3D-conformal RT (3D-CRT). Sixty-seven percent of the entire group received postoperative chemotherapy with TMZ (n = 198). One-hundred sixty-six patients received both concomitant and sequential TMZ. Prescription of postoperative TMZ increased in the most recent period (2005-2007). One- and 4-year survival rates were 70.2% and 28.6%, respectively. No statistically significant improvement in survival was observed with the addition of TMZ to RT (P = .59). Multivariate analysis showed the statistical significance of age, presence of seizures, Recursive Partitioning Analysis classes I-III, extent of surgical removal, and 3D-CRT. Changes in the care of AA over the past years are documented. Currently there is not evidence to justify the addition of TMZ to postoperative RT for patients with newly diagnosed AA outside a clinical trial. Results of prospective and randomized trials are needed.

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