Current controversies in the radiotherapeutic management of adult low-grade glioma

Semin Oncol. 2004 Oct;31(5):653-8. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2004.07.007.


Over the last decade, the results of four prospective clinical trials of supratentorial low-grade glioma (LGG) in adults have been published. The data from the nearly 1,000 patients treated on these studies are summarized in this presentation, addressing the following three current controversies in the radiotherapeutic management of these patients: (1) optimum timing of radiation therapy (RT); (2) optimum RT dose; and (3) addition of chemotherapy to RT. The 5-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) rates in these four studies ranged from 58% to 72% and from 37% to 55%, respectively. Significant prognostic factors included extent of surgical resection, histology, tumor size, and age. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) study 22845 randomized 311 adults to postoperative observation or RT. There was no difference in the 5-year OS rate between the two arms, but the irradiated patients had a significantly improved 5-year PFS rate. EORTC study 22844 randomized 379 adults to low- versus high-dose RT. Similarly, an intergroup study conducted by the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG), Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), and Eastern Cooperative Group (ECOG) randomized 211 adults to low- versus high-dose RT. There was no difference in the 5-year OS or PFS rates between the two dose groups in either study. A Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) study randomized 60 adults with incompletely resected LGG to RT alone or RT plus lomustine (CCNU) chemotherapy. There was no difference in outcome between the two treatment arms. Further prospective clinical trials are needed to define the optimal management strategy for adults with supratentorial LGG. The schemata from recently completed and ongoing LGG studies will be presented.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Glioma / drug therapy
  • Glioma / radiotherapy*
  • Glioma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Supratentorial Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Supratentorial Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Supratentorial Neoplasms / surgery
  • Survival Analysis