Purpose: There is no standard of care for recurrent high-grade glioma. Treatment strategies include reresection, reirradiation, systemic agents, intratumoral thermotherapy using magnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles (“nanotherapy”), and tumor treating fields. Only a small number of patients are eligible for reresection, and because many patients receive a full course of radiation therapy, there is fear of reirradiation-induced morbidity. Modern radiation techniques have resulted in greater acceptance of reirradiation. In this work we retrospectively analyzed patients who had undergone reirradiation of high-grade glioma at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
Methods and Materials: All patients treated with reirradiation for recurrent high-grade glioma in our department from January 1997 to February 2014 were analyzed in this study. In total, 198 patients were included. The primary endpoint was overall survival after recurrence.
Results: One hundred ninety-eight patients were identified. Median time from first radiation therapy to reirradiation was 14 months. Median follow-up from the first day of reirradiation to last contact or death was 7 months. Median overall survival after relapse was 7 months for the overall cohort. For glioblastoma, median overall survival after relapse was 6 months and for grade 3 gliomas 14 months. Treatment was generally well tolerated. Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events grade 3 toxicity was observed in 5.1% patients and grade 4 toxicity in 2.5%. No patient developed grade 5 toxicity. The likelihood of developing severe toxicity (Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events grade 3 or 4) was not significantly higher in the group of patients who received reirradiation in the first 14 months after initial radiation therapy. Patients who received a higher biologically effective dose to the tumor also did not have a significantly higher rate of severe acute toxicity.
Conclusions: The prognosis of recurrent high-grade glioma remains dismal. Reirradiation is often tolerable even after early recurrence (<14 months) and with higher doses (eg, 49.4 Gy/3.8 Gy) in selected patients.