Friday, December 11, 2009

RT first or Chemo first in Anaplastic Glioma

In the JCO this week:

Randomized data in different sequences of RT and Chemo in anaplastic Chemo. The bottom line from my take is that there is no significant difference in outcome, but toxicity is worse with chemo first. It is puzzling then that the conclusions of the paper state "These data may allow recommending chemotherapy as first-line treatment of patients with anaplastic gliomas, including patients with AA." That seems a bit at odds with the data presented - i.e. when you have two arms with equivalent therapeutic outcome, toxicity should drive the treatment decision, clearly favoring RT. It was also designed as a superiority trial for chemotherapy first, not a non-inferiority trial, so really it surely doesn't prove that chemo is as effective as RT either.

Link and astract:

NOA-04 Randomized Phase III Trial of Sequential Radiochemotherapy of Anaplastic Glioma With Procarbazine, Lomustine, and Vincristine or Temozolomide [Neurooncology]: "Purpose

The standard of care for anaplastic gliomas is surgery followed by radiotherapy. The NOA-04 phase III trial compared efficacy and safety of radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy at progression with the reverse sequence in patients with newly diagnosed anaplastic gliomas.

Patients and Methods

Patients (N = 318) were randomly assigned 2:1:1 (A:B1:B2) to receive conventional radiotherapy (arm A); procarbazine, lomustine (CCNU), and vincristine (PCV; arm B1); or temozolomide (arm B2) at diagnosis. At occurrence of unacceptable toxicity or disease progression, patients in arm A were treated with PCV or temozolomide (1:1 random assignment), whereas patients in arms B1 or B2 received radiotherapy. The primary end point was time to treatment failure (TTF), defined as progression after radiotherapy and one chemotherapy in either sequence.


Patient characteristics in the intention-to-treat population (n = 274) were balanced between arms. All histologic diagnoses were centrally confirmed. Median TTF (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.2; 95% CI, 0.8 to 1.8), progression-free survival (PFS; HR = 1.0; 95% CI, 0.7 to 1.3, and overall survival (HR = 1.2; 95% CI, 0.8 to 1.9) were similar for arms A and B1/B2. Extent of resection was an important prognosticator. Anaplastic oligodendrogliomas and oligoastrocytomas share the same, better prognosis than anaplastic astrocytomas. Hypermethylation of the O6-methylguanine DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter (HR = 0.59; 95% CI, 0.36 to 1.0), mutations of the isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH1) gene (HR = 0.48; 95% CI, 0.29 to 0.77), and oligodendroglial histology (HR = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.2 to 0.55) reduced the risk of progression. Hypermethylation of the MGMT promoter was associated with prolonged PFS in the chemotherapy and radiotherapy arm.


Initial radiotherapy or chemotherapy achieved comparable results in patients with anaplastic gliomas. IDH1 mutations are a novel positive prognostic factor in anaplastic gliomas, with a favorable impact stronger than that of 1p/19q codeletion or MGMT promoter methylation."

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