Limited role for extended maintenance temozolomide for newly diagnosed glioblastoma

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To explore an association with survival of modifying the current standard of care for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma of surgery followed by radiotherapy plus concurrent and 6 cycles of maintenance temozolomide chemotherapy (TMZ/RT → TMZ) by extending TMZ beyond 6 cycles.


The German Glioma Network cohort was screened for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma who received TMZ/RT → TMZ and completed ≥6 cycles of maintenance chemotherapy without progression. Associations of clinical patient characteristics, molecular markers, and residual tumor determined by magnetic resonance imaging after 6 cycles of TMZ with progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were analyzed with the log-rank test. Multivariate analyses using the Cox proportional hazards model were performed to assess associations of prolonged TMZ use with outcome.


Sixty-one of 142 identified patients received at least 7 maintenance TMZ cycles (median 11, range 7–20). Patients with extended maintenance TMZ treatment had better PFS (20.5 months, 95% confidence interval [CI] 17.7–23.3, vs 17.2 months, 95% CI 10.2–24.2, p = 0.035) but not OS (32.6 months, 95% CI 28.9–36.4, vs 33.2 months, 95% CI 25.3–41.0, p = 0.126). However, there was no significant association of prolonged TMZ chemotherapy with PFS (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.8, 95% CI 0.4–1.6, p = 0.559) or OS (HR = 1.6, 95% CI 0.8–3.3, p = 0.218) adjusted for age, extent of resection, Karnofsky performance score, presence of residual tumor, O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation status, or isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutation status.


These data may not support the practice of prolonging maintenance TMZ chemotherapy beyond 6 cycles.

Classification of evidence:

This study provides Class III evidence that in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma, prolonged TMZ chemotherapy does not significantly increase PFS or OS.

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