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J Neurooncol. 2017 Sep;134(2):245-251. doi: 10.1007/s11060-017-2512-y. Epub 2017 May 27.

Prior malignancies in patients harboring glioblastoma: an institutional case-study of 2164 patients.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Penn State University, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA, USA.
Penn State Hershey Neurosurgery, 30 Hope Drive, EC 110, Hershey, PA, 17033, USA.
Department of Neurosurgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.
Department of Neurosurgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
Department of Neurosurgery, University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center, Albuquerque, NM, USA.


More patients are surviving long-term following a cancer diagnosis and as such are at risk for second malignancies. As the most common primary brain tumor, glioblastoma (GBM) will not infrequently occur in this population. No study has examined the incidence of prior cancer (PC) in patients harboring GBM. Here we evaluate the epidemiological features, as well as the molecular and clinical characteristics of GBM as a second cancer. Utilizing a web-based cancer data management system at our institution, we identified 2164 patients harboring GBM from 2007 to 2014. We collected baseline demographic, molecular, and clinical data. Univariate analysis was performed to compare the cohort of GBM patients with and without PC diagnosis. Survival differences were analyzed with Kaplan-Meier and log-rank testing. A Cox-proportional hazards model was fit for multivariable analysis. 170 patients (7.9%) harboring GBM had a PC diagnosis. The median interval between diagnoses was 79 months. The most common pathologies were breast (18.8%) and prostate (18.8%) cancer. Patients with a PC were older at the time of GBM diagnosis than those without PC (66 vs. 59 years, p < 0.001) and were more likely to be white (88.2 vs. 72.8%, p < 0.001). Patients with PC were more likely to harbor an EGFR (20 vs. 12.3%, p < 0.001) or MGMT mutation (17.6 vs. 11.6%, p < 0.001). Median survival was 13 months in the PC cohort and 15 months in the cohort without PC (p = NS). Age, KPS, and diagnosis year were the only factors which influenced outcome in multivariable analysis. Patients who develop GBM following a prior malignancy constitute ~8% of patients with GBM. Despite significant molecular differences these two cohorts appear to have a similar overall prognosis and clinical course. Thus, whether or not a patient harbors a malignancy prior to diagnosis of GBM should not exclude him or her from aggressive treatment or for consideration of novel investigational therapies.


Glioblastoma; Primary brain tumor; Prior malignancy; Second malignancy

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