Chemotherapy for malignant brain tumors of astrocytic and oligodendroglial lineage

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2001 Feb;127(2):91-5. doi: 10.1007/s004320000171.


To date, surgery and irradiation remain the standard therapies for anaplastic astrocytoma (AA, WHO grade III) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM, WHO grade IV). Due to infiltrative tumor growth a complete surgical resection is never achieved and more than 90% of the tumors will recur within 2 cm of the primary tumor location. Postoperative radiotherapy prolongs survival but is not curative and prognosis remains poor with only a few patients being alive 2 years after diagnosis. Over the past decades multiple trials dealt with the question of whether chemotherapy (CT) may influence the outcome of malignant brain tumor patients. In general, the results have been disappointing with one exception: chemosensitivity and prolonged survival after CT have been demonstrated for tumors of oligodendrogial lineage. Drugs showing some activity in malignant brain tumors and therapeutic concepts will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Astrocytoma / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / classification
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Oligodendroglioma / drug therapy*
  • Prognosis


  • Antineoplastic Agents