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Oncology. 2015;88(3):173-9.

Thalidomide as palliative treatment in patients with advanced secondary glioblastoma.



For its numerous abilities including sedation, we have been using thalidomide (TH) as the 'last therapeutic option' in patients with advanced gliomas. We noticed that a small subgroup, i.e. patients with secondary glioblastoma (GBM, whose GBM has evolved over several months or years from a less malignant glioma), survived for prolonged periods. Therefore, we retrospectively evaluated the outcomes of patients with secondary GBM treated with TH at our centre.


Starting in the year 2000, we have studied 23 patients (13 females, 10 males, with a median age of 31.5 years) with secondary GBM who have received palliative treatment with TH 100 mg at bedtime. All patients had previously undergone radiotherapy and received at least 1 and up to 5 regimens of chemotherapy.


The median duration of TH administration was 4.0 months (range 0.8-32). The median duration of overall survival after the start of TH therapy was 18.3 months (range 0.8-57). Eleven patients with secondary GBM survived longer than 1 year. Symptomatic improvement was most prominent in the restoration of a normal sleep pattern.


The palliative effects of TH, especially the normalization of a sleep pattern, were highly valued by patients and families. The prolongation of survival of patients with secondary GBM has not been reported previously.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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