Presentation, management, and outcome of newly diagnosed glioblastoma in elderly patients

Shota Tanaka, Fredric B. Meyer, Jan C. Buckner, Joon H. Uhm, Elizabeth S. Yan, Ian F. Parney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Object. Optimum management for elderly patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM) in the temozolomide (TMZ) era is not well defined. The object of this study was to clarify outcomes in this population. Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed 105 consecutive cases involving elderly patients (age ≥ 65 years) with newly diagnosed GBM who were treated at the Mayo Clinic between 2003 and 2008. Results. The patients' median age was 74 years (range 66-87 years), and the median Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) score was 80 (range 40-90). Half of the patients underwent biopsy and half underwent resection. Patients with deep-seated lesions (19 patients [18%]) or multifocal lesions (34 patients [32%]) were more likely to have biopsy than resection (p = 0.0001 and 0.0009, respectively). New persistent neurological deficits developed in 7 patients (6.7%). Postoperative hemorrhage occurred in 6 patients (5.7%), all of whom underwent biopsy. Complete follow-up data regarding adjuvant treatment was available in 84 patients. Forty-one (49%) were treated with chemotherapy (mostly TMZ) and radiation therapy (RT), and 23 (27%) with RT alone. Nineteen (23%) received only palliative care after surgery (more common with biopsy, p = 0.03). Chemotherapy complications occurred in 28.6% (Grade 3 or 4 hematological complications in 11.9%). The median values for progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 3.5 and 5.5 months. In a multivariate analysis, younger age (p = 0.03, risk ratio [RR] 0.34, 95% CI 0.13-0.89), single lesion (p = 0.02, RR 0.51, 95% CI 0.30-0.89), resection (p = 0.04, RR 0.54, 95% CI 0.31-0.94), and adjuvant treatment (p = 0.0001, RR 0.24, 95% CI 0.11-0.49) were associated with better OS. Only adjuvant treatment was significantly associated with prolonged PFS (p = 0.0007, RR 0.27, 95% CI 0.13-0.57). With combined therapy with resection, RT, and chemotherapy, the median PFS and OS were 8 and 12.5 months, respectively. Conclusions. The prognosis for GBM worsens with increasing age in elderly patients. With important risks, resection and adjuvant treatment are associated with prolonged survival. Although selection bias cannot be excluded in this retrospective study, advanced age alone should not necessarily preclude optimal resection followed by adjuvant radiochemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-798
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Chemotherapy
  • Elderly
  • Glioblastoma
  • Oncology
  • Radiation therapy
  • Resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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