Interstitial brachytherapy for newly diagnosed patients with malignant gliomas: The UCSF experience
Stem Cell Transplantation
Although interstitial brachytherapy appears to be effective in treating recurrent malignant gliomas, it has been studied less extensively in patients with newly diagnosed tumors. To examine the effect of this treatment when used at the time of primary diagnosis, we retrospectively reviewed the records of 88 patients who received temporary interstitial implants of 125I for newly diagnosed malignant gliomas. This brachytherapy was preceded by a course of external radiation therapy and followed, in some cases, by chemotherapy. The median duration of survival after the beginning of external radiation therapy was 87 weeks in patients with glioblastoma multiforme and 160 weeks in those with anaplastic gliomas. In 46% of patients with glioblastoma multiforme and 56% of those with anaplastic gliomas, a second operation was necessary to remove symptomatic radiation necrosis, recurrent tumor, or both. Our results support the conclusion that interstitial brachytherapy used at the primary diagnosis lengthens survival in selected patients with glioblastoma multiforme. However, the toxicity is significant in terms of the need for surgical resection of symptomatic necrosis. In patients with anaplastic gliomas, the toxicity associated with the treatment probably outweighs its advantages.