Purpose: To determine if adjuvant interstitial hyperthermia (HT) significantly improves survival of patients with glioblastoma undergoing brachytherapy boost after conventional radiotherapy.
Methods and materials: Adults with newly-diagnosed, focal, supratentorial glioblastoma < or = 5 cm in diameter were registered postoperatively on a Phase II/III randomized trial and treated with partial brain radiotherapy to 59.4 Gy with oral hydroxyurea. Those patients whose tumor was still implantable after teletherapy were randomized to brachytherapy boost (60 Gy at 0.40-0.60 Gy/h) +/- HT for 30 min immediately before and after brachytherapy. Time to progression (TTP) and survival from date of diagnosis were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method.
Results: From 1990 to 1995, 112 eligible patients were entered in the trial. Patient ages ranged from 21-78 years (median, 54 years) and KPS ranged from 70-100 (median, 90). Most commonly due to tumor progression or patient refusal, 33 patients were never randomized. Of the patients, 39 were randomized to brachytherapy ("no heat") and 40 to brachytherapy + HT ("heat"). By intent to treat, TTP and survival were significantly longer for "heat" than "no heat" (p = 0.04 and p = 0.04). For the 33 "no heat" patients and 35 "heat" patients who underwent brachytherapy boost, TTP and survival were significantly longer for "heat" than "no heat" (p = 0.045 and p = 0.02, respectively; median survival 85 weeks vs. 76 weeks; 2-year survival 31% vs. 15%). A multivariate analysis for these 68 patients adjusting for age and KPS showed that improved survival was significantly associated with randomization to "heat" (p = 0.008; hazard ratio 0.51). There were no Grade 5 toxicities, 2 Grade 4 toxicities (1 on each arm), and 7 Grade 3 toxicities (1 on "no heat" and 6 on the "heat" arm).
Conclusion: Adjuvant interstitial brain HT, given before and after brachytherapy boost, after conventional radiotherapy significantly improves survival of patients with focal glioblastoma, with acceptable toxicity.