Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 145, Issue 2, pp 309–319 | Cite as

Oligodendroglioma confers higher risk of radiation necrosis

  • Haroon Ahmad
  • David Martin
  • Sohil H. Patel
  • Joseph Donahue
  • Beatriz Lopes
  • Benjamin Purow
  • David Schiff
  • Camilo E. FadulEmail author
Clinical Study



Radiation therapy (RT) remains a mainstay for the treatment of lower grade gliomas. Radiation neurotoxicity is a serious complication, carrying high morbidity in the absence of tumor progression. The incidence remains poorly categorized and known risk factors identified are related to the radiation modality. We hypothesized that patients with oligodendroglioma have a higher risk of radiation necrosis (RN) as compared to patients with astrocytoma.


We conducted a retrospective review of adults with lower grade diffuse gliomas over a 10-year span. The primary outcome was RN, either pathologically confirmed or clinically diagnosed. Cases without pathological confirmation must have been symptomatic, requiring administration of bevacizumab or high-dose steroids. Cox proportional hazard ratios were used for multivariate analyses.


In 319 patients, we identified RN in 41 patients (12.9%): 28 patients (21.3%) with oligodendroglioma and 13 (6.9%) with astrocytoma (HR 3.42, p < 0.001). Patients with oligodendroglioma who received > 54 Gy had a higher incidence (31.2%) than those receiving ≤ 54 Gy (14.3%, HR 6.9, p = 0.002). There was no similar correlation among patients with astrocytoma. There was no difference in incidence based on use of concomitant temozolomide. Radiation necrosis appeared within 24 months from radiation in 80.5% of patients.


Our study suggests that patients with oligodendroglioma are at higher risk of developing RN. The incidence increases with increasing radiation dose in patients with oligodendroglioma but not with astrocytoma. RN usually appears within 24 months from RT. Patients with oligodendroglioma receiving > 54 Gy are at highest risk.


Radiation necrosis Neurotoxicity Oligodendroglioma Astrocytoma 


Author contribution

Primary author, data collection, Analysis: H Ahmad, MD. Statistical analysis and figures: D Martin, MSc. Radiographic analysis and review: SH Patel, MD. Radiographic analysis and review: J Donahue, MD. Pathologic analysis and review: B Lopes, MD. Review and editing: B Purow, MD. Review and editing: D Schiff, MD. Senior author, analysis, review: CE Fadul, MD.


SHP was funded by a Radiological Society of North America Research Scholar Grant (RSCH1819). The other authors have no funding to report.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11060_2019_3297_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (281 kb)
Supplementary data (pdf)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Division of Neuro-OncologyUniversity of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, Division of NeuroradiologyUniversity of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Pathology, Divisions of NeuropathologyUniversity of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesvilleUSA

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