Recurrent glioblastomas in the elderly after maximal first-line treatment: does preserved overall condition warrant a maximal second-line treatment?

J Neurooncol. 2017 Nov;135(2):285-297. doi: 10.1007/s11060-017-2573-y. Epub 2017 Jul 19.


A growing literature supports maximal safe resection followed by standard combined chemoradiotherapy (i.e. maximal first-line therapy) for selected elderly glioblastoma patients. To assess the prognostic factors from recurrence in elderly glioblastoma patients treated by maximal safe resection followed by standard combined chemoradiotherapy as first-line therapy. Multicentric retrospective analysis comparing the prognosis and optimal oncological management of recurrent glioblastomas between 660 adult patients aged of < 70 years (standard group) and 117 patients aged of ≥70 years (elderly group) harboring a supratentorial glioblastoma treated by maximal first-line therapy. From recurrence, both groups did not significantly differ regarding Karnofsky performance status (KPS) (p = 0.482). Oncological treatments from recurrence significantly differed: patients of the elderly group received less frequently oncological treatment from recurrence (p < 0.001), including surgical resection (p < 0.001), Bevacizumab therapy (p < 0.001), and second line chemotherapy other than Temozolomide (p < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, Age ≥70 years was not an independent predictor of overall survival from recurrence (p = 0.602), RTOG-RPA classes 5-6 (p = 0.050) and KPS at recurrence <70 (p < 0.001), available in all cases, were independent significant predictors of shorter overall survival from recurrence. Initial removal of ≥ 90% of enhancing tumor (p = 0.004), initial completion of the standard combined chemoradiotherapy (p = 0.007), oncological treatment from recurrence (p < 0.001), and particularly surgical resection (p < 0.001), Temozolomide (p = 0.046), and Bevacizumab therapy (p = 0.041) were all significant independent predictors of longer overall survival from recurrence. Elderly patients had substandard care from recurrence whereas age did not impact overall survival from recurrence contrary to KPS at recurrence <70. Treatment options from recurrence should include repeat surgery, second line chemotherapy and anti-angiogenic agents.

Keywords: Aged patients; Geriatric assessment; Glioblastoma; Karnofsky performance status; Recurrence.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glioblastoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Karnofsky Performance Status
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis