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Brain tumors: New therapy surprisingly successful
Date:3/6/2009

This release is available in German.

The combination of two drugs produces a critical improvement in the treatment of certain brain tumours. This has been demonstrated by researchers at Bonn University working in co-operation with German and Swiss colleagues in a current study. They treated 39 patients who had been diagnosed with a so-called gliablastoma. The patients survived on average 23 months; with the standard therapy the mean would have been 14.6 months. Glioblastomas are the most aggressive and the commonest brain tumours. Left untreated, they prove fatal within just a few weeks. The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.19.2195).

Even today, glioblastomas are untreatable something which even the new combination therapy cannot change. Nevertheless, Professor Dr. Ulrich Herrlinger of Bonn Universitys Schwerpunkt Klinische Neuroonkologie speaks of an outstanding success: "This unusually manifest extension of the survival time has surprised even us. Our results offer the opportunity to improve our grip on this aggressive form of cancer. Now, further investigations involving a larger number of patients are needed to optimise this therapy. Planning for this is already in hand in Bonn".

Up to now, doctors have treated glioblastomas using radiotherapy with concomitant chemotherapy. The "gold standard" for this for the last few years has been the active agent temozolomide. This is still celebrated as the most important breakthrough in the treatment of glioblastomas. The researchers combined this preparation with the drug lomustine. At the same time, the patients were given radiotherapy. The 39 patients thus treated survived the tumour for an average of 23.1 months. With the standard therapy, this time is over one third shorter. Seven patients even survived for over four years.


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Contact: Dr. Ulrich Herrlinger
Ulrich.Herrlinger@ukb.uni-bonn.de
49-228-287-19887
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert

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