, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp 1-7
Date: 24 Apr 2011

Delayed initiation of radiotherapy for glioblastoma: how important is it to push to the front (or the back) of the line?

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Glioblastoma is a malignant tumor characterized by a rapid proliferation rate. Contemporary multi-modality treatment consists of maximal surgical resection followed by radiation therapy (RT) combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy. The optimal timing of these different steps is not known. Four studies from the pre-temozolomide era, encompassing a total of 4,584 subjects, have examined the consequences of a delay between resection and starting RT. Whereas the two small single-institution studies found this delay to be detrimental, two large multi-institutional studies found delay to be either slightly beneficial or at least not harmful. Here, we critically compare the methodologies and results presented in these studies, and include a novel analysis of the combined datasets. We conclude that moderate wait periods (up to 4–6 weeks post-operatively) are safe and may be modestly beneficial. Conversely, there is no evidence to justify waiting longer than 6 weeks. Underlying radiobiological principles are discussed.