Temozolomide in malignant glioma

Onco Targets Ther. 2010 Sep 7;3:139-46. doi: 10.2147/ott.s5480.


Glioblastoma multiforme WHO grade IV (GBM) is the most aggressive malignant glioma and the most frequent primary tumor of the central nervous system. The median survival of newly diagnosed GBM patients was between 9 to 12 months prior to treatment with temozolomide being introduced. Primary resection that is as complete as possible is recommended for malignant glioma. Conventional fractionated irradiation 55 to 60 gy with concomitant temozolomide followed by standard temozolomide 6 cycles (5/28) (EORTC/NCIC-regime published by R Stupp in 2005) is the standard of care for newly diagnosed GBM after surgery, independent of the methylation status of the MGM-T gene promoter. Age is no contraindication for treatment with temozolomide, although comorbidity and performance status have to be considered. For temozolomide naive GBM and astrocytoma grade III patients with disease progression, temozolomide is still the treatment of choice outside of clinical studies. A general consensus regarding the schedule of choice has not yet been achieved; so far the 5 out of 28 days regimen (5/28) is the standard of care in most countries. Patients with disease progression after standard temozolomide (5/28) are candidates for clinical studies. Outside of clinical studies, dose-dense (7/7), prolonged (21/28), or metronomic (28/28) temozolomide, or alternatively a nitrosourea-based regimen can be an option. The excellent toxicity profile of temozolomide allows for various combinations with antitumor agents. None of these combinations, however, have been demonstrated to be statistically significantly superior compared to temozolomide alone. The role of lower dosed, dose-dense, or continuous regimen with or without drug combination and the role of temozolomide for newly diagnosed astrocytoma grade III and low grade glioma still has to be determined.

Keywords: astrocytoma WHO grade III; glioblastoma multiforme; malignant glioma; temozolomide.