A rapid and systematic review of the effectiveness of temozolomide for the treatment of recurrent malignant glioma

Br J Cancer. 2002 Feb 12;86(4):501-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6600135.


A rapid and systematic review of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of temozolomide in the treatment of recurrent malignant glioma was commissioned by the NHS HTA Programme on behalf of NICE. The full report has been published elsewhere. This paper summarizes the results for the effectiveness of temozolomide in people with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astrocytoma. The review was conducted using standard systematic review methodology involving a systematic literature search, quality assessment of included studies with systematic data extraction and data synthesis. One randomized controlled trial and four uncontrolled studies were identified for inclusion. The key results were that temozolomide may increase progression-free survival but has no significant impact on overall length of survival. The main effect from temozolomide may have been in those patients who had not received any prior chemotherapy regimens, however further randomized controlled trials are required to confirm this suggestion. Temozolomide appears to produce few serious adverse effects and may also have a positive impact on health-related quality of life. Overall the evidence-base is weak and few strong conclusions can be drawn regarding the effectiveness of temozolomide. Large, well-designed randomized controlled trails conducted in a wider patient population are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / therapeutic use*
  • Astrocytoma / drug therapy*
  • Astrocytoma / mortality
  • Astrocytoma / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dacarbazine / adverse effects
  • Dacarbazine / analogs & derivatives
  • Dacarbazine / therapeutic use*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Glioblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Glioblastoma / mortality
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Survival Rate
  • Temozolomide
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Dacarbazine
  • Temozolomide