Glioblastoma in the elderly: initial management

Chin Clin Oncol. 2017 Aug;6(4):39. doi: 10.21037/cco.2017.06.03.


Glioblastoma is the most common primary CNS malignancy and it is becoming more frequently diagnosed in the elderly population. Glioblastoma is associated with a dismal prognosis and remains a huge challenge for the neuro-oncology community. Surgical resection/biopsy is well defined as an important first approach in the care of this disease, for tumor diagnosis, molecular analysis and maximum resection. MGMT promoter methylation status has proved to be a useful indicator of whether single modality (RT or TMZ alone) or combined modality treatment may achieve better outcomes. Post-operative treatment options include: (I) hypofractionated radiotherapy (HRT) with concurrent and adjuvant temozolomide (TMZ) or (II) HRT alone (MGMT unmethylated patients); (III) TMZ alone (MGMT methylated patients) when combined modality is not feasible due to patient poor performance status or multiple comorbidities. Following the positive survival outcomes of the CCTG CE.6/EORTC 26062-22061 phase III trial which randomized newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients aged 65 or older to HRT (40 Gy/15 fractions) with concurrent and adjuvant temozolomide to HRT alone, combined modality therapy (CMT) with HRT with concurrent temozolomide as the initial post-surgical approach should be considered in patients well enough to have treatment. In meantime, future trials addressing new approaches are needed to improve outcomes in this fatal disease.

Keywords: Glioblastoma; elderly; outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / therapeutic use
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dacarbazine / analogs & derivatives
  • Dacarbazine / therapeutic use
  • Glioblastoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Radiation Dose Hypofractionation
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Temozolomide


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Dacarbazine
  • Temozolomide