Radiation coupled with Chemotherapy has been found to be beneficial in low grade gliomas which are a form of brain tumor. This was gleaned from the results of a follow-up trial conducted by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) in collaboration with three other NCI cooperative groups (SWOG, ECOG-ACRIN, and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology).
The findings indicated that radiation followed by chemotherapy can extend the life of patients who are suffering from low-grade gliomas.
Low-grade gliomas are primary brain tumors which have evolved in the brain and are markedly different from the secondary brain tumors which originate in some other part of the body and metastasize to the brain. The low-grade gliomas less common type of tumors in adults and grow slowly and also have a better prognosis.
These primary brain tumors develop from the glial cells and form the structural part of the brain. It is vital in supporting the functions of the neurons which are responsible for the sensations, muscle coordination and control and also intelligence and thoughts.
The study involved 251 patients with low-grade gliomas for a period between October 1998 and June 2002. The aim of the study was to evaluate the role of chemotherapy following radiation therapy. All the subjects who were chosen for the study were in the high risk bracket since they were all 40 years of age and had undergone partial surgical procedures to remove their tumor when they were below 40 years of age.
All the patients started with surgery followed by radiation therapy. One half of the patients ceased taking treatment after radiation therapy while the other half received six sessions of chemotherapy over a period of 21 days after radiation therapy.
The group who received chemotherapy plus radiation showed a better survival rate as compared to the group which did not receive any chemotherapy treatment after the radiation session. The former had a median survival time of 13.3 years as compared to the later who had a median survival rate of 7.8 years.
Co-lead investigator Jan Buckner, M.D., professor of oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn said, “The results of this study are practice-changing. Additionally, ongoing analysis of patient tumour samples should allow us to further identify the patients who will, and who will not, benefit from chemotherapy, taking yet another step toward individualized therapy”