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Twenty-one patients with recurrent intracranial gliomas were retreated by external beam radiotherapy between 1987 and 1995. Twenty patients received cytotoxic chemotherapy involving CCNU as part of their retreatment. Only five of the 21 patients had received chemotherapy in combination with the initial external beam radiotherapy (RT) prior to recurrence. The different histological groups were analysed and the patients divided into two groups; group I (Grade I and II gliomas) and group II (Grade III, IV and glioblastoma). The overall median survival for all patients was 59 months, with a median survival of 22 months after recurrence. For group I and group II patients, the median survival was 26 months and 13 months after recurrence respectively. It was concluded that some highly selected patients with intracranial gliomas can be retreated safely by carefully planned external beam RT given to a relatively low dose in order to palliate neurological dysfunction and the symptoms of raised intracranial pressure, and to reduce steroid dependency. The results strongly suggest that recovery does occur after initial RT. Retreatment may possibly improve survival in a small proportion of patients. Further studies, including randomized trial designs, quality of life assessment, and neurological symptoms indices, would be required to determine the quantitative benefit of any such treatment policy. The objectives of this study were to determine whether patients received any benefit, such as symptom relief and the allowance of steroid withdrawal, after retreatment, and whether long term survival could be achieved.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Oncology

Publication Date





158 - 163