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RTOG Study to Look at Radiation + Thalidomide for Glioblastoma Multiforme

RTOG Study to Look at Radiation + Thalidomide for Glioblastoma Multiforme

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 tumor’s 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.

Thalidomide’s 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 Dr. Yung.

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