Phase II radiation therapy oncology group trial of weekly paclitaxel and conventional external beam radiation therapy for supratentorial glioblastoma multiforme

C J Langer, J Ruffer, H Rhodes, R Paulus, K Murray, B Movsas, W Curran
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2001 September 1, 51 (1): 113-9

PURPOSE: Fractionated external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) +/- carmustine (BCNU) is the standard of care for patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), but survival results remain poor. Preclinical studies indicate synergy between RT and paclitaxel (TAX) in astrocytoma cell lines. Phase I studies in GBM have demonstrated a maximum tolerated dose for TAX of 225 mg/m(2)/3 h/week x 6, during EBRT, with no exacerbation of typical RT-induced toxicities. The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) therefore mounted a Phase II study to determine the feasibility and efficacy of conventional EBRT and concurrent weekly TAX at its MTD.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Sixty-two patients with histologic diagnosis of GBM were enrolled from 8/16/96 through 3/21/97 in a multi-institutional Phase II trial of EBRT and TAX 225 mg/m(2)/3 h (1-3 h before EBRT), administered the first treatment day of each RT week. Total EBRT dose was 60 Gy (200 cGy/fraction), 5 days per week. A smaller treatment field, to include gross disease plus a margin only, was used after 46 Gy.

RESULTS: Sixty-one patients (98%) were evaluable. Median age was 55 years (range, 28-78). Seventy-four percent were > or = 50 years. Recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) Classes III, IV, V, VI included 10 (17%), 21 (34%), 25 (41%), and 5 (8%) patients, respectively. Gross total resection was performed in only 16%. There was no Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia or thrombocytopenia. Hypersensitivity reactions precluding further use of TAX occurred in 4 patients. There were 2 instances of late neurotoxicity (4% Grade 3 or 4). Ninety-one percent of patients received treatment per protocol. Seventy-seven percent completed prescribed treatment (6 weeks). Of 35 patients with measurable disease, CR/PR was observed in 23%, MR in 17%, and SD in 43%. Seventeen percent demonstrated progression at first follow-up. Median potential follow-up time is 20 months. Median survival is 9.7 months, with median survivals for RPA classes III, IV, V, and VI of 16.3, 10.2, 9.5, 2.5 months, respectively. Ten patients remain alive.

CONCLUSION: Concurrent full-dose EBRT and weekly high-dose TAX is feasible in the majority of GBM patients. Acute toxicity is acceptable; myelosuppression and peripheral sensory neuropathy are surprisingly modest, despite considerably higher overall dose intensity, compared to that achievable in other disease sites. Median survival by RPA class without prolonged adjuvant therapy is comparable to RTOG controls treated with standard EBRT and BCNU (1 year of BCNU).

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