Radiation therapy for glioblastoma: Executive summary of an American Society for Radiation Oncology Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline

Pract Radiat Oncol. 2016 Jul-Aug;6(4):217-225. doi: 10.1016/j.prro.2016.03.007. Epub 2016 Mar 31.


Purpose: To present evidence-based guidelines for radiation therapy in treating glioblastoma not arising from the brainstem.

Methods and materials: The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) convened the Glioblastoma Guideline Panel to perform a systematic literature review investigating the following: (1) Is radiation therapy indicated after biopsy/resection of glioblastoma and how does systemic therapy modify its effects? (2) What is the optimal dose-fractionation schedule for external beam radiation therapy after biopsy/resection of glioblastoma and how might treatment vary based on pretreatment characteristics such as age or performance status? (3) What are ideal target volumes for curative-intent external beam radiation therapy of glioblastoma? (4) What is the role of reirradiation among glioblastoma patients whose disease recurs following completion of standard first-line therapy? Guideline recommendations were created using predefined consensus-building methodology supported by ASTRO-approved tools for grading evidence quality and recommendation strength.

Results: Following biopsy or resection, glioblastoma patients with reasonable performance status up to 70 years of age should receive conventionally fractionated radiation therapy (eg, 60 Gy in 2-Gy fractions) with concurrent and adjuvant temozolomide. Routine addition of bevacizumab to this regimen is not recommended. Elderly patients (≥70 years of age) with reasonable performance status should receive hypofractionated radiation therapy (eg, 40 Gy in 2.66-Gy fractions); preliminary evidence may support adding concurrent and adjuvant temozolomide to this regimen. Partial brain irradiation is the standard paradigm for radiation delivery. A variety of acceptable strategies exist for target volume definition, generally involving 2 phases (primary and boost volumes) or 1 phase (single volume). For recurrent glioblastoma, focal reirradiation can be considered in younger patients with good performance status.

Conclusions: Radiation therapy occupies an integral role in treating glioblastoma. Whether and how radiation therapy should be applied depends on characteristics specific to tumor and patient, including age and performance status.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation
  • Glioblastoma / radiotherapy*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • United States