Aim: To determine the effect of waiting time for radiotherapy on the overall survival of patients with high-grade gliomas.
Methods: We examined records of patients with grade III/IV gliomas who were referred to radiotherapy after surgery or biopsy - ECOG <3, any age, radical intent or palliative intent with dose >50 Gy, no interstitial or radiosurgery boost. Waiting time was defined in two ways, time from biopsy to radiotherapy and time from presentation to radiotherapy department to start of radiotherapy.
Results: There were 182 patients in the study having a median survival of 8.5 months, with a median follow up of 10.5 months. The group comprised of 63 (35%) grade III and 119 (65%) grade IV gliomas. Median times and ranges from biopsy and presentation to treatment were 26 days (4-78 days) and 15 days (1-62 days), respectively. The median dose was 60 Gy in a median of 30 fractions over a median of 46 days. Tumour progression before and during radiotherapy occurred in seven patients (4%) and 19 patients (11%), respectively. One hundred and seventy-nine patients died of disease. The seven patients whose tumour progressed before radiotherapy were excluded from the analysis of prognostic variables. In a multivariate analysis the variables that were significantly associated with worse survival were older age, reduced dose and prolonged waiting time from presentation. The risk of death increased by 2% for each day of waiting for radiotherapy.
Conclusion: The study showed longer waiting time from presentation at radiotherapy department to treatment to be a significant predictor of overall survival for patients with high-grade glioma.