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Neurology. 1995 May;45(5):929-33.

Age influences chemotherapy response in astrocytomas.

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Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.



In patients with cerebral astrocytomas treated with nitrosourea-based chemotherapy, to determine whether age is predictive of response, time to progression, survival, or rate of complications.


Retrospective analysis of neuroimaging studies and clinical data.


University hospital with a busy neuro-oncology service.


One hundred forty-eight patients with pathologically confirmed malignant astrocytomas or recurrent astrocytomas.


Partial response occurred in 39% of patients aged < 40 years, in 17% of those aged 40 to 59, and in only 5% of those aged > or = 60 (p < 0.001). Median time to progression after chemotherapy was 23 weeks in patients aged < 60 and 6 weeks in patients aged > or = 60 (p < 0.001). Median survival after chemotherapy was 43 weeks in patients aged < 60 but only 24 weeks in patients aged > or = 60 (p < 0.001). Differences between age groups in response rate, time to progression, and survival persisted with adjustment for tumor grade. The risk of myelosuppressive complications requiring hospitalization was significantly related to age (p = 0.03); such complications occurred in 35% of patients aged > or = 60 and 16% of patients under 60 years.


Age is strongly predictive of the likelihood of a response to chemotherapy, time to progression, survival, and risk of myelosuppressive complications. Patients aged > or = 60 have a lower change of benefit and an increased risk of myelosuppressive complications from chemotherapy for astrocytomas compared with younger patients.

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