Canadian recommendations for the treatment of recurrent or progressive glioblastoma multiforme

J. C. Easaw, W. P. Mason, J. Perry, N. Laperrière, D. D. Eisenstat, R. Del Maestro, K. Bélanger, D. Fulton, D. Macdonald


Recommendation 1: Multidisciplinary Approach

To optimize treatment outcomes, the management of patients with recurrent glioblastoma should be individualized and should involve a multidisciplinary team approach, including neurosurgery, neuropathology, radiation oncology,  neuro-oncology, and allied health professions.

Recommendation 2: Imaging

The standard imaging modality for assessment of recurrent glioblastoma is Gd-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Tumour recurrence should be assessed according to the criteria set out by the Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology Working Group. The optimal timing and frequency of MRI after chemoradiation and adjunctive therapy have not been established.

Recommendation 3: Pseudo-progression

Progression observed by MRI after chemoradiation can be pseudo-progression. Accordingly, treated patients should not be classified as having progressive disease by Gd-enhancing MRI within the first 12 weeks after the end of radiotherapy unless new enhancement is observed outside the radiotherapy field or viable tumour is confirmed by pathology at the time of a required re-operation. Adjuvant temozolomide should be continued and follow-up imaging obtained.

Recommendation 4: Repeat Surgery

Surgery can play a role in providing symptom relief and confirming tumour recurrence, pseudo-progression, or radiation necrosis. However, before surgical intervention, it is essential to clearly define treatment goals and the expected impact on prognosis and the patient’s quality of life. In the absence of level 1 evidence, the decision to re-operate should be made according to individual circumstances, in consultation with the multidisciplinary team and the patient.

Recommendation 5: Re-irradiation

Re-irradiation is seldom recommended, but can be considered in carefully selected cases of recurrent glioblastoma.

Recommendation 6: Systemic Therapy

Clinical trials, when available, should be offered to all eligible patients. In the absence of a trial, systemic therapy, including temozolomide rechallenge or antiangiogenic therapy, may be considered. Combination therapy is still experimental; optimal drug combinations and sequencing have not been established.

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