BACKGROUND: Patients with high-grade gliomas are treated with surgery followed by chemoradiation. The risk factors and implications of neurological side effects are not known.
METHODS: Acute and late ≥ grade 3 neurological toxicities (NTs) were analysed among 2761 patients from 14 RTOG trials accrued from 1983 to 2003. The association between acute and late toxicity was analysed using a stepwise logistic regression model. The association between the occurrence of acute NT and survival was analysed as an independent variable.
RESULTS: There were 2610 analysable patients (86% glioblastoma, 10% anaplastic astrocytoma). All received a systemic agent during radiation (83% chemotherapy, 17% biological agents). Median radiation dose was 60 Gy. There were 182 acute and 83 late NT events. On univariate analysis, older age, poor performance status, aggressive surgery, pre-existing neurological dysfunction, poor mental status and twice-daily radiation were associated with increased acute NT. In a stepwise logistic regression model the occurrence of acute NT was significantly associated with late NT (OR=2.40; 95% CI=1.2-4.8; P=0.014). The occurrence of acute NT predicted poorer overall survival, independent of recursive partitioning analysis class (median 7.8 vs 11.8 months).
INTERPRETATION: Acute NT is significantly associated with both late NT and overall survival.
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