Medical Oncology

, 35:74 | Cite as

Characteristics and survival outcomes associated with the lack of radiation in the treatment of glioblastoma

  • Bin Huang
  • Therese A. Dolecek
  • Quan Chen
  • Catherine R. Garcia
  • Thomas Pittman
  • John L. Villano
Original Paper


Radiation increases survival in glioblastoma (GBM); however, 30% do not receive this treatment. We sought to identify characteristics associated with not receiving radiation and the impact on outcomes. We analyzed the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program (SEER) 18 registries 2000–2013 research database on 30,479 GBM cases that were aged 20 years and older. In total, 21,179 received radiation as first course of therapy, while 8218 did not with 5178 (63%) being 65 years and older. Early decisions on surgery often predicted radiation therapy with 61% having only a biopsy or no surgery at diagnosis. Radiation use as upfront therapy has slowly increased over time at a rate of 0.4% per year; still 25% did not receive radiation in 2013. Cases treated with radiation were more likely to be younger, underwent surgery, lived in a metropolitan area, had higher socioeconomic status, and were in a couple-based relationship. An increased survival in GBM was associated with the use of upfront radiation along with younger age, being of race other than white, undergoing surgery, and a more recent diagnosis. Not receiving radiation therapy adversely affects survival. A trend toward an increased use of radiation was observed although many young adults still do not receive this treatment. Decreased usage of radiation in the elderly and in biopsy-only surgeries was anticipated, but race, gender, and poverty were also statistically significant. Clinicians should be aware of this underutilization, and an increased usage of radiation should improve outcomes for glioblastoma.


Glioblastoma Race Radiation therapy Disparity Surgery 



We are grateful to Bridget J. McCarthy, Ph.D., for being a resource for ideas and inspiration as well as providing extremely helpful comments on the manuscript.


TAD and JLV were supported by the National Cancer Institute (R03CA156561), and BH is a member of the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared Resource Facility of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center (P30CA177558).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bin Huang
    • 1
    • 6
  • Therese A. Dolecek
    • 2
  • Quan Chen
    • 6
  • Catherine R. Garcia
    • 6
  • Thomas Pittman
    • 5
    • 6
  • John L. Villano
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Biostatistics, College of Public HealthUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Institute for Health Research and Policy, School of Public HealthUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of MedicineUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  6. 6.Markey Cancer CenterUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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