Assumptions in the radiotherapy of glioblastoma

Neurology. 1980 Sep;30(9):907-11. doi: 10.1212/wnl.30.9.907.


In the light of advances in computerized tomography (CT), we have retrospectively evaluated the assumptions that underlie the radiation therapy of glioblastoma: (1) No neuroradiologic technique provides an accurate delineation of tumor bulk and location, (2) glioblastoma is commonly multicentric, and (3) a major source of therapeutic failure is recurrence beyond radiotherapy fields. 1. CT scans, performed on glioblastoma patients within 2 months of postmortem examination, defined both gross and microscopic tumor extent (within a 2-cm margin) in all but 6 of 35 patients evaluated. The major source of error was subependymal spread (four patients). 2. Multicentricity occurred in only 4% of untreated and 6% of treated (radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy) patients. All multicentric lesions were identified on CT scans. 3. Serial CT scans on 42 patients revealed that glioblastoma recurred within a 2-cm margin of the primary site in 90%. Occurrences outside this margin were accurately delineated by CT in all instances. Because most patients show recurrence within or in close proximity to the original site, current radiation doses would appear to be inadequate for therapy of the primary tumor. CT scan accuracy may permit smaller-field and higher-dose irradiation therapy for glioblastoma.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Glioblastoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Glioblastoma / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*