A new study shows that increasing the number of cycles with temozolomide for glioblastoma patients brings no additional benefits and increases the toxicity of the treatment

- Research

The results of the clinical trial published recently in the journal Neuro Oncology show that increasing the number of cycles of treatment with temozolomide in patients with glioblastoma brings no additional benefits and increases the toxicity of the treatment. Medical oncologists from the ICO Badalona and researchers of the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP), Anna Estival and Marta Domènech, took part in the study, which was led by Carmen Balaña, who is also the first author on the paper. Other members of the team taking part were the medical oncologists and medical oncologists and researchers at the ICO-Hospitalet; Carlos Mesia, Miguel Gil and Francisco Javier Pérez-Martin; the Chief of the Radiology Service at the ICO Badalona, Salvador Villà and the medical oncologist from ICO Girona Sonia del Barco.

The standard treatment for glioblastoma is six cycles of radiation with temozolomide. However, the optimal number of cycles has been the subject of much debate. In this context the clinical trial was carried out in order to determine whether increasing the number of cycles brings benefits to patients. It was funded by a grant from the Instituto de Salud, Carlos III.

A national study including patients from around the country

The study is an open multi-centre phase II clinical trial, this means that both the patients and their doctors are aware of the treatment being administered (experimental arm) or not (control arm). A total of 159 patients from more than 20 hospitals across the country were followed up between August 2014 and November 2018. Of these, 80 were put into the study group and 79 into the control group, following all necessary safety procedures. The experimental group received the same dose as the control group, but in 12 cycles and not 6.