Glioblastoma multiforme of the elderly: the prognostic effect of resection on survival

J Neurooncol. DOI 10.1007/s11060-010-0429-9

According to recent developments the best treatment options for glioblastoma (GBM) consist in maximum safe resection and additional adjuvant treatment with radiotherapy (RT) and alkylating chemotherapy (CHX).

These options have been evaluated for populations with a median age of approximately 58 years. We therefore addressed the issue of whether elderly patients ([65years) could also benefit from cytoreductive surgery (CS) and adjuvant treatment using alkylating chemotherapy.

Onehundred and three patients suffering from newly diagnosed, primary supratentorial glioblastoma multiforme[65 years (median 70.8 years) were identified in our single-center glioma database (2002–2007) and retrospectively divided into group A (n = 31) treated with surgery alone (biopsy, BY, n = 21, CS n = 10), group B (n = 37) surgery plus radiation (BY n = 18, CS n = 19), and group C (n = 35) surgery, RT and CHX (BY n = 4, CS n = 31). Progression- free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OAS) were determined in each group and correlated to age, Karnofsky performance score (KPS), and extent of resection (biopsy (BY), partial (PR), and complete resection (CR)). Progression was defined according the Macdonald criteria. For all patients PFS and OAS were 3.2 months and 5.1 months (m) respectively. PFS and OAS for groups A/B/C were 1.8/ 3.2/6.4 m (P = 0.000) and 2.2/4.4/15.0 m (P = 0.000), respectively. Median age for groups A/B/C was 74.4/70.6/ 68.5 years and median KPS was 60/70/80. Age (\75, C75) was inversely correlated with OAS (5.8/2.5 m, P = 0.01). KPS (\70, C70) was correlated with OAS 2.4/6.5 m (P = 0.000). Extent of resection (BY, PR, or CR) correlated with PFS (2.1/3.4/6.4 m, P = 0,000) and OS (2.2/7.0/ 13.9 m, P = 0,000), respectively.

Our study shows that elderly GBM patients can benefit from maximum treatment procedures with cytoreductive microsurgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Treatment options are obviously affected by KPS and age. The most impressive outcome predictor in this population was the extent of microsurgical resection for patients treated with adjuvant radiotherapy and chemotherapy. To conclude, elderly GBM patients should not be per se excluded from intensive treatment procedures.