Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 153, Issue 6, pp 1211–1218

Cytoreductive surgery of glioblastoma as the key to successful adjuvant therapies: new arguments in an old discussion


    • Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of Münster
  • Martin J. van den Bent
    • Neuro-Oncology Unit, Daniel den Hoed Cancer CenterErasmus University Hospital
  • Manfred Westphal
    • Department of NeurosurgeryUniversitätsklinikum Eppendorf
Clinical Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00701-011-1001-x

Cite this article as:
Stummer, W., van den Bent, M.J. & Westphal, M. Acta Neurochir (2011) 153: 1211. doi:10.1007/s00701-011-1001-x



This article discusses data from 3 randomized phase 3 trials, supporting a role for surgery in glioblastoma.


Data were reviewed by extent of resection during primary surgery from the ALA-Glioma Study (fluorescence-guided versus conventional resection), the BCNU wafer study (BCNU wafer versus placebo), and the EORTC Study 26981–22981 (radiotherapy versus chemoradiotherapy with temozolomide).


For glioblastoma patients in the ALA study, median survival was 16.7 and 11.8 months for complete versus partial resection, respectively (P < 0.0001). Survival effects were maintained after correction for differences in age and tumor location. For glioblastoma patients who received ≥90% resection in the BCNU wafer study, median survival increased for BCNU wafer versus placebo (14.5 versus 12.4 months, respectively; P = 0.02), but no survival increase was found for <90% resection (11.7 versus 10.6 months, respectively; P = 0.98). In the EORTC study, absolute median gain in survival with chemoradiotherapy versus radiotherapy was greatest for complete resections (+4.1 months; P = 0.0001), compared with partial resections (+1.8 months; P = 0.0001), or biopsies (+1.5 months; P = 0.088), suggesting surgery enhanced adjuvant treatment.


Complete resection appears to improve survival and may increase the efficacy of adjunct/adjuvant therapies. If safely achievable, complete resection should be the surgical goal for glioblastoma.


5-aminolevulinic acidBCNU waferGlioblastomaSurgeryTemozolomide

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011