Resection of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme in elderly patients: a pseudo-randomized analysis revealed clinical benefit

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Elderly patients constitute an expanding part of our society. Due to a continuously increasing life expectancy, an optimal quality of life is expected even into advanced age. Glioblastoma (GBM) is more common in older patients, but they are still often withheld from efficient treatment due to worry of worse tolerance and have a significantly worse prognosis compared to younger patients. Our retrospective observational study aimed to investigate the therapeutic benefit from a second resection in recurrent glioblastoma of elderly patients.

Materials and methods

We included a cohort of 39 elderly patients (> 65 years) with a second resection as treatment option in the case of a tumor recurrence. A causal inference model was built by multiple non- and semiparametric models, which was used to identify matched patients from our elderly GBM database which comprises 538 patients. The matched cohorts were analyzed by a Cox-regression model adjusted by time-dependent covariates.


The Cox-regression analysis showed a significant survival benefit (Hazard Ratio: 0.6, 95% CI 0.36–0.9, p-value = 0.0427) for the re-resected group (18.0 months, 95% CI 13.97–23.2 months) compared to the group without re-resection (10.1 months, 95% CI 8.09–20.9 months). No differences in the co-morbidities or hemato-oncological side effects during chemotherapy could be detected. Anesthetic- and surgical complications were rare and comparable to the complication rate of patients undergoing the first-line resection.


Taken together, in elderly patients, re-resection is an acceptable treatment option in the recurrent state of a glioblastoma. The individual evaluation of the patients′ medical status as well as the chances of withstanding general anesthesia needs to be done in close interdisciplinary consultation. If these requirements are met, elderly patients benefit from a re-resection.

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Correspondence to Mateo Tomas Fariña Nuñez.

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Fariña Nuñez, M.T., Franco, P., Cipriani, D. et al. Resection of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme in elderly patients: a pseudo-randomized analysis revealed clinical benefit. J Neurooncol 146, 381–387 (2020).

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  • Recurrent glioblastoma multiforme
  • Elderly patients
  • Re-Resection