JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) evidence-based review of the role of radiosurgery for malignant glioma

May N Tsao, Minesh P Mehta, Timothy J Whelan, David E Morris, James A Hayman, John C Flickinger, Michael Mills, C Leland Rogers, Luis Souhami
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2005 September 1, 63 (1): 47-55
16111571

PURPOSE: To systematically review the evidence for the use of stereotactic radiosurgery or stereotactic fractionated radiation therapy in adult patients with malignant glioma.

METHODS: Key clinical questions to be addressed in this evidence-based review were identified. Outcomes considered were overall survival, quality of life or symptom control, brain tumor control or response and toxicity. MEDLINE (1990-2004 June Week 2), CANCERLIT (1990-2003), CINAHL (1990-2004 June Week 2), EMBASE (1990-2004 Week 25), and the Cochrane library (2004 issue 2) databases were searched using OVID. In addition, the Physician Data Query clinical trials database, the proceedings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (1997-2004), ASTRO (1997-2004), and the European Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO) (1997-2003) were searched. Data from the literature search were reviewed and tabulated. This process included an assessment of the level of evidence.

RESULTS: For patients with newly diagnosed malignant glioma, radiosurgery as boost therapy with conventional external beam radiation was examined in one randomized trial, five prospective cohort studies, and seven retrospective series. There is Level I evidence that the use of radiosurgery boost followed by external beam radiotherapy and carmustine (BCNU) does not confer benefit with respect to overall survival, quality of life, or patterns of failure as compared with external beam radiotherapy and BCNU. There is Level I-III evidence of toxicity associated with radiosurgery boost as compared with external beam radiotherapy alone. The results of the prospective and retrospective studies may be influenced by selection bias. Radiosurgery used as salvage for recurrent or progressive malignant glioma after conventional external beam radiotherapy failure was reported in zero randomized trials, three prospective cohort studies, and five retrospective series. The available data are sparse and insufficient to make absolute recommendations. Stereotactic fractionated radiation therapy has been reported as boost therapy with external beam radiotherapy for patients with newly diagnosed malignant glioma in only three prospective studies. As primary therapy alone without conventional external beam radiotherapy for newly diagnosed malignant glioma patients, stereotactic fractionated radiation therapy has been reported in only one prospective study. There were only three prospective series and two retrospective studies reported for patients with recurrent or progressive malignant glioma.

CONCLUSIONS: For patients with malignant glioma, there is Level I-III evidence that the use of radiosurgery boost followed by external beam radiotherapy and BCNU does not confer benefit in terms of overall survival, local brain control, or quality of life as compared with external beam radiotherapy and BCNU. The use of radiosurgery boost is associated with increased toxicity. For patients with malignant glioma, there is insufficient evidence regarding the benefits/harms of using radiosurgery at the time progression or recurrence. There is also insufficient evidence regarding the benefits/harms in the use of stereotactic fractionated radiation therapy for patients with newly diagnosed or progressive/recurrent malignant glioma.

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