FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) led CE.6 phase III trial was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. This international study tested the addition of temozolomide chemotherapy to an abbreviated course of radiation therapy in older adults with Glioblastoma (brain cancer).
“The incidence of glioblastoma is higher in the elderly population and a lack of clinical trial data in this age group has led to uncertainty about the best approaches to manage the condition,” says Dr. Chris O’Callaghan CCTG Senior Investigator. “These results will now guide both national and international practice, changing how glioblastoma is treated in elderly patients around the world.”
Lead co-authors Dr. James R. Perry (Sunnybrook Heath Sciences Centre) and Dr. Normand Laperriere (UHN Princess Margaret Cancer Centre), found that the one-year and two-year survival rates were 37.8 percent and 10.4 percent with radiation plus temozolomide vs. 22.2 percent and 2.8 percent with short course radiation therapy alone.
“This study provides the first evidence from a randomized clinical trial that chemotherapy in combination with a shorter radiation schedule significantly extends survival without a detriment to quality of life,” said lead study co-author James R. Perry, Endowed Chair in Brain Tumour Research at the Odette Cancer and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centres. “Although glioblastoma disproportionately affects older patients, there have been no clear guidelines for treating these patients, and practice varies globally.”
Glioblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer and elderly patients account for half of those diagnosed with the disease. The study demonstrates that adding the cancer drug temozolomide to a shortened course of radiation therapy, followed by monthly maintenance doses, improves the survival rate of elderly patients, reducing the risk of death by 33 percent, without loss of quality of life.
Although the difference in median survival seems modest, temozolomide significantly increased the chances of surviving two or three years. This extra time certainly means a great deal to a person with cancer and their family,” said Dr. Perry.
About the Canadian Cancer Trials Group
The Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) is a cancer clinical trials research cooperative that runs phase I-III clinical trials to test anti-cancer and supportive therapies in over 80 institutions across Canada and more internationally. CCTG is one of the national programs of the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI) and from its centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, they have supported over 500 trials in over 40 countries, aimed at improving survival rates and quality of life for all people with cancer.
For more information: Lisa Callahan, communications leader | 613-533-6000 x 74483