Author(s): Mornex F, Nayel H, Taillandier L
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Abstract High grade (or malignant) astrocytomas remain a formidable therapeutic challenge. The main prognostic factors are patient age, patient performance status, tumor grade, the extent of surgical resection and the presence of fits. These factors could help to identify different groups of patients and should be an advantage in deciding on treatment strategies. Modern imaging techniques provide a more precise idea of tumor volume. The study of tumor recurrence shows that they occur in the immediate vicinity of the primary site. Surgery aside, radiotherapy remains the most important treatment modality. Currently, its standards concerning optimal dose and target volume appear to be accepted overall. There is no doubt that a dose-response relation exists; however, doses exceeding 60 Gy increase morbidity. Therefore 60 Gy is the dose most often cited in the literature. Furthermore, as whole brain irradiation does not decrease the risk of recurrence, a focal irradiation including a defined mean volume is generally used today. Radiosensitizers and heavy particles have not fulfilled their initial promise. Brachytherapy remains an interesting alternative for a limited number of patients. Nevertheless, it seems to increase recurrence at a distance from the primary site and to lead to severe focal lesions. Interstitial thermoradiotherapy may minimize local doses and thus help avoid serious local necrosis. Amongst the other therapeutic alternatives, intravenous chemotherapy using nitrosoureas provides a certain but modest benefit. Other administration modalities are currently undergoing evaluation. These include intra-arterial chemotherapy or high dose chemotherapy with auto-bone marrow transplantation. The interest of this latter is concerned mainly with anaplastic astrocytomas. Finally, among the future alternatives, gene therapy appears to hold the most promise. Intensive therapies, combined modality treatments, with the recent help of biological innovations, should be proposed to favorable groups of patients.
This article was published in Radiother Oncol
and referenced in Atherosclerosis: Open Access