Effect of valproic acid on seizure control and on survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme

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To examine the efficacy of valproic acid (VPA) given either with or without levetiracetam (LEV) on seizure control and on survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) treated with chemoradiation.


A retrospective analysis was performed on 291 patients with GBM. The efficacies of VPA and LEV alone and as polytherapy were analyzed in 181 (62%) patients with seizures with a minimum follow-up of 6 months. Cox-regression survival analysis was performed on 165 patients receiving chemoradiation with temozolomide of whom 108 receiving this in combination with VPA for at least 3 months.


Monotherapy with either VPA or LEV was instituted in 137/143 (95.8%) and in 59/86 (68.6%) on VPA/LEV polytherapy as the next regimen. Initial freedom from seizure was achieved in 41/100 (41%) on VPA, in 16/37 (43.3%) on LEV, and in 89/116 (76.7%) on subsequent VPA/LEV polytherapy. At the end of follow-up, seizure freedom was achieved in 77.8% (28/36) on VPA alone, in 25/36 (69.5%) on LEV alone, and in 38/63 (60.3%) on VPA/LEV polytherapy with ongoing seizures on monotherapy. Patients using VPA in combination with temozolomide showed a longer median survival of 69 weeks (95% confidence interval [CI]: 61.7–67.3) compared with 61 weeks (95% CI: 52.5–69.5) in the group without VPA (hazard ratio, 0.63; 95% CI: 0.43–0.92; P = .016), adjusting for age, extent of resection, and O6-DNA methylguanine-methyltransferase promoter methylation status.


Polytherapy with VPA and LEV more strongly contributes to seizure control than does either as monotherapy. Use of VPA together with chemoradiation with temozolomide results in a 2-months’ longer survival of patients with GBM.

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