Initial chemotherapy alone is as effective as initial radiation therapy for patients who have undergone surgery for removal of very malignant brain tumor, reveals a new study.
With this treatment, the patients survive on average more than 30 months without a recurrence, said researchers from Heidelberg and Zurich.
As the tumors can branch out widely into the surrounding tissue, they cannot be completely removed.
The subsequent therapy in the form of combined radiochemotherapy (radiation and chemotherapy) is the current standard treatment, but it is associated with a risk of long-term toxicity to healthy brain tissue, causing the patient to lose cognitive abilities.
Moreover recent studies have shown that combined radiochemotherapy according to current standard practice does not yield better therapy results than radiotherapy alone.
The new NOA (Neurooncology Working Group) study has shown that chemotherapy alone after surgical removal of the tumor has an equivalent result.
"This additional treatment option facilitates the further development of the treatment plan in new combinations with the long-term goal of improving the survival rate," said Professor Wolfgang Wick, Medical Director of the Department of Neurooncology at Heidelberg University Hospital and Head of the Neurooncology Unit at the DKFZ.
The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.