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Pantelis Stavrinou, Aristotelis Kalyvas, Stefan Grau, Christina Hamisch, Norbert Galldiks, Sotirios Katsigiannis, Christoph Kabbasch, Marco Timmer, Roland Goldbrunner, and George Stranjalis

OBJECTIVE

Data on the survival effects of supportive care compared to second-line multimodal treatment for glioblastoma progression are scarce. Thus, the authors assessed survival in two population-based, similar cohorts from two European university hospitals with different treatment strategies at first progression.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively identified patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma treated at two neurooncological centers. After diagnosis, patients from both centers received identical treatments, but at tumor progression each center used a different approach. In the majority of cases, at center A (Greece), supportive care or a single therapeutic modality was offered at progression, whereas center B (Germany) provided multimodal second-line therapy. The main outcome measure was survival after progression (SaP). The influence of the treatment strategy on SaP was assessed by multivariate analysis.

RESULTS

One hundred three patients from center A and 156 from center B were included. Tumor progression was observed in 86 patients (center A) and 136 patients (center B). At center A, 53 patients (72.6%) received supportive care alone, while at center B, 91 patients (80.5%) received second-line treatment. Progression-free survival at both centers was similar (9.4 months [center A] vs 9.0 months [center B]; p = 0.97), but SaP was significantly improved in the patients treated with multimodal second-line therapy at center B (7 months, 95% CI 5.3–8.7 months) compared to those treated with supportive care or a single therapeutic modality at center A (4.5 months, 95% CI 3.5–5.5 months; p = 0.003). In the multivariate analysis, the treatment center was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival (HR 1.59, 95% CI 0.17–2.15; p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment strategy favoring multimodal second-line treatment over minimal treatment or supportive care at glioblastoma progression is associated with significantly better overall survival.