Anew Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG)
study will determine whether thalidomide combined with radiation
therapy can lengthen survival and time to disease recurrence in
adults with glioblastoma multiforme.
Despite important advances in diagnosis and therapy, malignant
gliomas tend to recur and progress at or near their original site. A
key feature of this type of tumor is the large number of involved
blood vessels, which accounts for the tumors severity. In the
laboratory, however, thalidomide appears to inhibit angiogenesis,
said one of the study chairs, W. K. Alfred Yung, MD, of the
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Thalidomide also
has further potential because it is associated with minimal toxicity,
which may make it suitable for long-term maintenance therapy, he added.
Thalidomides New Potential
This RTOG research project has renewed interest in thalidomide, which
was developed in the 1950s. It was first used to treat morning
sickness in pregnant women and as a sleeping pill until it was
discovered that it caused severe birth defects.
Patients who are diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (either
through biopsy or resection) will begin the combined treatment of
radiation therapy and thalidomide at the same time. The radiation
therapy will be administered 5 days per week for 6 weeks. Thalidomide
therapy, however, may continue until evidence of recurrence or
progression is found.
We hope that the final results will provide a stable and
reliable determination of the benefits of the combined therapies
along with dosage information in regards to thalidomide, said