Purpose: Older age and poor performance status at presentation are unfavorable prognostic factors for patients with glioblastoma multiforme. Some studies suggest a shorter, palliative course of radiotherapy may confer similar benefits as compared to a radical course in such patients. We report a prospective, single arm trial, describing the use of a short-course of radiation in patients with glioblastoma and poor prognostic features. Methods and Materials: Twenty-nine patients with pathologically confirmed glioblastoma and age ≥ 65 years or with initial KPS ≤ 50 were treated with a short-course of whole brain radiotherapy (30 Gy/10 fractions/2 weeks). Computer tomography tumor volume, dexamethasone requirements, Spitzer quality of life index, and Karnofsky performance status were measured pre and 1 month postradiation. Overall survival for the study patients was compared with that of radically treated and supportive care only historical controls. Results: Indices of tumor response were stable or improved in 60% of patients evaluable 1 month postradiotherapy. Median survival for all study patients was 6 months. Median survivals in similar groups of radically treated and supportive care only patients were 10 and 1 month(s), respectively. A survival advantage for the radical vs. shortcourse treatment was observed for the subset of patients with a pretreatment KPS > 50. Conclusion: Elderly patients with a low pretreatment KPS (s 50) may be treated adequately with a short, palliative course of radiotherapy. Elderly patients with a higher pretreatment KPS (> 50), however, may benefit from a higher dose radiotherapy regimen. © 1994.
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