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New approach for the treatment of malignant brain tumors
Date:10/1/2009

Initial chemotherapy alone after surgery is just as successful as initial radiation therapy for patients from whom a very malignant brain tumor (anaplastic glioma) was removed. With this treatment, the patients survive on average > 30 months without a recurrence. A study conducted by the Neurooncology Working Group of the German Cancer Society led by researchers from Heidelberg and Zrich showed that patients in primary therapy benefit to the same extent from chemotherapy alone as from radiation alone.

In addition, the Working Group headed by Professor Dr. Wolfgang Wick, Medical Director of the Department of Neurooncology at Heidelberg University Hospital and Head of the Neurooncology Unit at the DKFZ, Professor Dr. Michael Weller, Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital Zurich, and Prof. Andreas von Deimling, Medical Director of the Department of Neuropathology at Heidelberg University Hospital and Head of the Neuropathology Unit at the DKFZ, identified a new factor that is indicative of a positive prognosis regardless of the form of treatment. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In Germany, around 4,500 people a year develop a glioma, a malignant brain tumor. Some 5 percent of primary brain tumors are what are known as anaplastic gliomas. They respond to treatment somewhat better than most other malignant brain tumors. The mean survival time in the study was > 80 months. 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.

Primary chemotherapy as an equivalent treatment option

Two studies recently conducted by the European Organization for Res
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Contact: Prof. Dr. med. Wolfgang Wick
wolfgang.wick@med.uni-heidelberg.de
062-215-67554
University Hospital Heidelberg
Source:Eurekalert

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