Long-Term Survival in Patients with Malignant Astrocytoma

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FROM 1978 TO 1988, 314 patients with malignant astrocytoma were treated by our neuro-oncology team. Twenty-five patients were excluded from further analysis because of a lack of adequate follow-up, the brain-stem location of the tumor, or an age of less than 18 years. Of the 289 remaining patients in the valid study group, 213 had Grade IV tumors (73.7%) and 76 had Grade III tumors; 167 patients were male (57.8%) and 112 were female, and 89 were less than 40 years of age (30.8%). There were 58 long-term survivors (> 36 mo) in the series (20%). Long-term survivors were much more likely to be less than 40 years of age (x = 41.8; P < 0.005), to have undergone repeated surgery (x = 17.3; P < 0.005), to have received more than 60 Gy of radiation (x = 11.6; P < 0.005), to have Grade III tumors (x = 10.6; P < 0.005), and to have received nitrosoureas (x = 6.09; P < 0.02). Neither sex nor blood type were significantly associated with long-term survival. Patients undergoing repeated surgery were more likely to be less than 40 years of age (x = 5.72; P < 0.02), but neither sex nor histological findings was associated with repeated surgery. For the series as a whole, the observed 5-year survival rate was 6%. We conclude that an aggressive multidisciplinary approach can produce sizable numbers of long-term survivors in malignant astrocytoma patients with favorable prognostic factors.

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