ASTRO: Gamma Knife+radiotherapy increases survival for glioblastoma

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A study performed by researchers from University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland found that the use of MR spectroscopy, followed by Elekta's Gamma Knife radiosurgery (accompanied with conventional radiotherapy) in treating glioblastoma multiforme increases patients’ survival rates by 3.7 months compared with patients treated with conventional radiotherapy alone.

The results of the study were presented Monday at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) conference in Chicago.

"The four-month increase is quite significant as the median survival of patients treated with conventional radiotherapy alone is only one year," said lead author Douglas B. Einstein, MD, PhD, vice chairman and clinical director of the department of radiation oncology at University Hospitals and assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, also in Cleveland.

According to the researchers, glioblastoma multiforme is the most common and aggressive type of cancer, notorious for recurring within months of surgery.

The five-year, Phase II study enrolled 35 patients who underwent MR spectroscopy imaging to non-invasively identify regions of the glioblastoma multiforme tumor that were more aggressive than in other areas. The regions where the tumor was most aggressive were targeted with high dose radiation from the gamma knife, followed by conventional radiotherapy.

According to Einstein, a Phase III randomized trial is being designed, given the positive results of the Phase II study.