Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common form of brain cancer; being an extremely serious type of the disease as currently, on diagnosis, the chances of survival of the patient is less than a year. In fact, its cause is not known nor the manner to prevent it. What is more, progress of patients suffering from this condition has hardly changed in 40 years, unlike other cancers such as, for example, infant leukaemia, for which the possibilities of recovery have risen dramatically.
The Hospital Universitario Donostia (at the city of Donostia-San Sebastin in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa) has incorporated a new glioblastoma multiforme treatment protocol, which could be the starting point for a more effective treatment of this type of cancer. Doctor Nicols Samprn, specialist in Neurosurgery at the hospital, has presented his PhD at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) based on the first results of the new treatment method. The work is entitled Glioblastoma multiforme. Analysis of survival and prognostic factors.
As Dr Samprn explained, each year there are between three and six cases of glioblastoma multiforme for every 100,000 inhabitants and, thereby, between 30 and 40 new cases correspond to the Hospital Donostia annually. It is not, therefore, an infrequent illness. The new protocol incorporated into the hospital analysed in this thesis puts forward a more multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of patients suffering from this type of cancer. The key figure at the hospital is the Neuro-oncological hospitalisation committee or team, on which neurosurgeons, neurologists, cancer experts, anatomical pathologists, radiologists and others serve; all specialists involved in the care of these patients. The idea is, thus, to provide a more personalised treatment and monitoring.
According to the thesis, this new multidisciplinary approach gives better survival rates; the usual average survival rate for a patient with glioblastoma multiforme having been 12 months, after the incorporation of this treatment it has risen to 17 months and a half.
The thesis also highlights a finding as regards determining factors for prognosis. As Dr. Samprn pointed out, the general health situation of the patient at the moment of the diagnosis is the most efficacious indicative factor when predicting the most favourable prognosis, whereas molecular studies have not provided conclusive results with respect to this prognosis.
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