Chemo plus radiation therapy helps patients with low-grade brain tumors live longer

Patients with low-grade brain tumors who were treated with both chemotherapy and radiation live longer than those who received only radiation treatments, according to a long-term clinical trial supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The study enrolled 251 patients with low-grade gliomas between October 1998 and June 2002. The patients were at high risk compared to other patients with low-grade gliomas because they were over 40 years or age, or had less than a complete removal of their tumor if they were under 40.

Researchers found that participants who received chemotherapy plus radiation therapy significantly improved their survival time (13.3 years median survival time) compared to participants who just received radiation therapy (7.8 years median survival time).

"The results of this study are practice-changing," co-lead investigator Jan Buckner, M.D., a professor of oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said. "Additionally, ongoing analysis of patient tumor samples should allow us to further identify the patients who will, and who will not, benefit from chemotherapy, taking yet another step toward individualized therapy." Announcement

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