Suspected low-grade glioma: is deferring treatment safe?

Ann Neurol. 1992 Apr;31(4):431-6. doi: 10.1002/ana.410310413.


Deferring therapeutic intervention may worsen outcome in patients with low-grade glioma. To address this issue, we searched our records and located 26 patients who presented with a transient event (most often seizures), who had radiographic evidence strongly suggestive of a low-grade primary supratentorial neoplasm, and for whom all therapy (except anticonvulsants) was withheld until deemed necessary (WAIT Group). For comparison, 20 patients who presented similarly, but for whom immediate intervention was elected, served as a comparison group (NOWAIT Group). Fifteen patients in the WAIT Group required eventual surgery or radiation therapy at intervals ranging from 4 to 123 months (median, 29 months) between radiographic diagnosis and therapeutic intervention; reasons for such intervention included increasing tumor size, uncontrollable seizures, or malignant transformation of tumor. At surgery, there was an increased number of anaplastic tumors noted in the patients in the WAIT Group (p less than 0.02); nevertheless, if the rate of malignant transformation was examined from time of diagnosis, no differences were noted between the patients in the two groups. Similarly, no difference in survival or quality of life could be demonstrated from time of radiographic diagnosis. Therefore, we could not demonstrate that deferring therapy worsens outcome for these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Cohort Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glioma / diagnostic imaging
  • Glioma / mortality
  • Glioma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors