✓ A randomized clinical study of irradiation and irradiation combined with ACNU in the treatment of malignant gliomas was performed in order to determine if there was an enhancing therapeutic effect of ACNU given in addition to radiotherapy. An effect was defined as a reduction in tumor size, changes in neurological signs and performance status within 1 month after the completion of radiotherapy, or statistically improved survival times. Seventy-seven patients from 14 neurosurgical clinics were included in this validated study group. Radiotherapy with a total dose of 5000 to 6000 rads, given in 25 to 30 subdoses, was applied to the whole brain and to a generous field surrounding the tumor. Patients who were assigned to receive chemotherapy were given ACNU intravenously once or twice during radiotherapy at a dose of 100 mg/sq m of body surface area.
The response rate (more than 50% reduction of the tumor size) was 13.5% in the group treated by radiotherapy alone and 47.5% in the group with radiotherapy and ACNU. The hematological toxicity was more severe in the group treated with radiotherapy and ACNU. Other toxicity was mild and acceptable. The survival rates of patients with astrocytoma grade III and glioblastoma multiforme at 36 months after the surgery were 48.9% and 0% for radiotherapy alone and 59.0% and 16.3% for radiotherapy plus ACNU, respectively. The differences between the survival curves were not significant at the p = 0.05 level.
This study has demonstrated that, although the use of ACNU during radiotherapy suppressed malignant gliomas more than radiotherapy alone, the survival time was not extended significantly. It is necessary to continue to search for an effective chemotherapeutic regimen to prolong survival of patients with malignant gliomas.