There are few and conflicting reports on the effects of delayed initiation of chemoradiotherapy on the survival of patients with glioblastoma. The standard of care for newly diagnosed glioblastoma is concurrent radiotherapy and temozolomide chemotherapy after maximal safe resection; however, the optimal timing of such therapy is poorly defined. Given the lack of consensus in the literature, the authors performed a retrospective analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database to investigate the effect of time from surgery to initiation of therapy on survival in newly diagnosed glioblastoma.
Patients with primary glioblastoma diagnosed since 2005 and treated according to the standard of care were identified from TCGA database. Kaplan-Meier and multivariate Cox regression analyses were used to compare overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) between groups stratified by postoperative delay to initiation of radiation treatment.
There were 218 patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma with known time to initiation of radiotherapy identified in the database. The median duration until therapy was 27 days. Delay to radiotherapy longer than the median was not associated with worse PFS (HR = 0.918, p = 0.680) or OS (HR = 1.135, p = 0.595) in multivariate analysis when controlling for age, sex, KPS score, and adjuvant chemotherapy. Patients in the highest and lowest quartiles for delay to therapy (≤ 20 days vs ≥ 36 days) did not statistically differ in PFS (p = 0.667) or OS (p = 0.124). The small subset of patients with particularly long delays (> 42 days) demonstrated worse OS (HR = 1.835, p = 0.019), but not PFS (p = 0.74).
Modest delay in initiation of postoperative chemotherapy and radiation does not appear to be associated with worse PFS or OS in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma, while significant delay longer than 6 weeks may be associated with worse OS.