Background It is appropriate to investigate and to determine survival trends following glioblastoma multiforme treatment using resective surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy in patients aged 59 years and higher. Methods We retrospectively reviewed 30 elderly patients (≥59 years old) who were treated for histopathologically confirmed glioblastoma multiforme at our tertiary care institution from 1990 through 2002. All patients were treated with steroids. In addition, 22 patients underwent resective surgery (RS), 17 patients underwent radiation therapy (RT), and 10 patients underwent chemotherapy (C). Many patients underwent these treatments in various combinations: 6 underwent biopsy only, 7 RS only, 6 RS+RT only, and 9 RS+RT+C. For each case, pre-treatment Karnofsky performance scores (KPS), tumor location, presenting symptoms and signs, associated surgical morbidity, and pre-existing medical conditions were also recorded. Patients were categorized into one of four treatment subgroups: Biopsy only, RS only, RS+RT, and RT+RS+C. For each of these subgroups, pretreatment KPS and post-treatment survival were compared. Results Post-treatment survival following biopsy only was 3.2 ± 0.8 months (mean ± SE); RS 2.2 ± 0.5; RS+RT 5.5 ± 1.2; RS+RT+C 13.6 ± 2.1. A longer survival trend was noted for the RS+RT versus RS group (two-tailed unpaired t test, p = 0.02;), as well as the RS+RT+C group, which showed consistently higher survival in comparison to most of the other groups (p = 0.0021, 0.00039, 0.013 vs. the biopsy only, RS only, and RS+RT groups, respectively). No significant difference was found in KPS, comparing all individual groups versus each other (p ≥ 0.06). Remarkably, 6 patients survived over 14 months (range, 14.1-22.7 months), all of which received RS+RT+C. Conclusions This study suggests a significant improvement in elderly patients treated with the combination of resective surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, rather than either treatment alone or other combination. This significant improvement does not appear to be biased by pretreatment KPS, as mean KPS values did not significantly differ between any of these groups. However, a greater number of patients in each group must be considered to achieve the power to make more definitive treatment guidelines.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Glioblastoma multiforme
- resective surgery