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J Neurooncol. 2012 Nov;110(2):227-35. doi: 10.1007/s11060-012-0956-7. Epub 2012 Aug 9.

Presentation, management, and outcome of elderly patients with newly-diagnosed anaplastic astrocytoma.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Few studies have assessed the presentation, management, and outcome of anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) in elderly patients in the temozolomide era. We retrospectively reviewed 42 consecutive patients aged >65 years with newly-diagnosed AA who underwent surgical resection or biopsy between 2003 and 2008. Median age and KPS score were 73 years (range, 66-88) and 80 (range, 50-90), respectively. Thirty-two patients (76 %) presented with focal deficits. Twenty patients (48 %) experienced seizures before surgery. Tumor enhanced diffusely in 24 patients (57 %) and sparsely in 18 patients (43 %). Biopsy (79 %) was more common than resection. Post-operatively, new persistent neurological deficits and hemorrhage were seen in two (4.8 %) and three (7.1 %) patients, respectively. Complete follow-up data regarding adjuvant treatment was available in 31 patients. Sixteen patients (52 %) received temozolomide and radiation therapy (RT), while nine patients (29 %) received RT alone. Chemotherapy-related grade 3/4 hematologic complication rate was 17.6 %. Median overall survival (OS) was 6.5 months (12 months with resection; 3.5 months with biopsy). Resection (P = 0.007, risk ratio = 0.21) and sparse enhancement (P = 0.007, risk ratio = 0.13) were associated with longer OS in multivariate analysis. Similarly, chemoradiation was associated with longer survival compared to RT alone (OS: P = 0.01, progression-free survival (PFS): P = 0.02) after adjusting for age, KPS, enhancement, and surgery. Resection was associated with longer survival among elderly patients with AA, although this could reflect selection bias. Similarly, adding chemotherapy to RT was associated with prolonged survival but carried important complication risks. In appropriately selected AA patients, aggressive treatments with radical resection and chemoradiation may be appropriate even in this age group.

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