Chemotherapeutic implications of growth fraction and cell cycle time in glioblastomas

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✓Four patients received 3H-thymidine 4 to 7 days and vinblastine 4 to 6 hours prior to operation for recurrent malignant gliomas (three glioblastomas and one anaplastic astrocytoma). Tumor biopsies obtained at operation were fixed for routine histological studies and radioautography. The tumors' growth fractions averaged 0.28 with a range of 0.14 to 0.39. The tumor cell cycle time calculated in three patients had a mean duration of 57 hours with a standard deviation of 6 hours. The authors concluded that: 1) single short-term courses of cell-cycle specific chemotherapeutic agents alone will probably fail to achieve either significant reduction in tumor mass or dramatic clinical improvement; 2) cell-cycle phase-specific drugs should be administered to maintain effective blood levels over 2 to 3 days for maximal tumor cell kill. Tumor growth rate appears to correlate with the fraction of proliferating cells rather than the length of the tumor cell cycle. The scientific basis for combination drug and multimodality therapy is discussed.

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Address reprint requests to: Charles B. Wilson, M.D., Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, California 94143.

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