MAR 16, 2017 3:16 PM PDT

Clinical Trial of Combination Therapy Extended Life After Glioblastoma

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

When researchers used the drug temozolomid in combination with short regimen of radiation therapy in older patients with malignant brain cancer, survival was extended by two months, when compared with treatment using radiation on its own. The results from this clinical trial were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine; they are outlined in the following video. 

For 45% of patients involved in the study, improved survival almost doubled, from seven months to 13.5 months, explained co-principal investigator Normand Laperriere, who is a radiation oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network. The outcome has been linked to a molecular indicator that shows whether a DNA repair mechanism that acts against the drug was active. If that mechanism gets turned off, tumors were more responsive to treatment.

"Everyone benefited to a varying degree and the study confirmed the predictive nature of the molecular marker in the largest sample to date where the status was known. We anticipate this combined therapy will be the treatment strategy broadly adopted around the world for patients 65 and older because it makes a significant difference in the course of this terrible disease," said Dr. Laperriere, who is also a Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto.

The trial was done in collaboration with investigators Dr. James Perry, Sunnybrook Health Science and Odette Cancer Centres, Toronto, Dr. Christopher O'Callaghan, Canadian Cancer Trials Group, Kingston, ON, and international collaborators from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan.

Over several years, 2007 to 2013, the randomized Phase III clinical trial involved 562 patients with glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain cancer in adults. This devastating cancer has an average onset age of 65 and there is no cure. In aging societies, glioblastoma incidence  is increasing. In the trial, the patients had an age range of 65 to 90, while two-thirds of those were 70 or older.

Though two previous studies have investigated the action of the drug on its own or the role of radiotherapy by itself in treating glioblastoma, this is the first study that characterizes the effects of the therapies in combination.

"There has been no clear standard of care for treatment of glioblastoma in the elderly," explained Dr. Laperriere. "For patients under 65, the protocol is six weeks of radiation therapy plus the drug, but this regimen is poorly tolerated by older patients."

Temozolomide is a very well tolerated oral chemotherapy drug. There were no differences in quality of live among participants in both arms of the study. "The drug is so well tolerated, there is no downside in administering it to all glioblastoma patients,'' said Dr. Laperriere. "Thankfully in such a terrible disease, at least we have therapies that are easy on the patient and easy to take."

 

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! via UHN, New England Journal of Medicine

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
APR 21, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
APR 21, 2020
Skin Deep: Handheld Device Sees the Earliest Signs of Cancer
Researchers have developed a handheld device that can image structures under the skin at resolutions 100 times greater t ...
APR 17, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
APR 17, 2020
Overcoming Multi-Drug Resistance in Cancer
Resistance to chemotherapeutic use in caner patients is something that is inevitable. Continued resistance to these drug ...
MAY 11, 2020
Cancer
MAY 11, 2020
Are antihistamines helpful for cancer?
Research recently published in the research journal Allergy suggests that a common antihistamine could improve survival ...
MAY 03, 2020
Cancer
MAY 03, 2020
New genes targeted for anti-cancer therapies
Research published in the journal Genome Biology reports the discovery of two overlooked genes that have the potential t ...
MAY 13, 2020
Cancer
MAY 13, 2020
What role does geography play in childhood cancer?
Research published in the International Journal of Health Geographics aims to explain the role that geography plays in p ...
MAY 21, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 21, 2020
Molecular 'Switch' Makes Autoimmune Drugs Fight Cancer
Researchers from the Antibody and Vaccine Group at the University of Southampton, England, have identified a way to repu ...
Loading Comments...