Radiotherapy in low-grade glioma adult patients: A retrospective survival and neurocognitive toxicity analysis

Michela Buglione*, Sara Pedretti, Stefano Gipponi, Alice Todeschini, Ludovica Pegurri, Loredana Costa, Laura Donadoni, Salvatore Grisanti, Marco Fontanella, Roberto Liserre, Fabio Facchetti, Alessandro Padovani, Stefano Maria Magrini

*Corresponding author for this work
4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The treatment of low-grade glioma is still debated. Surgery is the first-line approach, and the correct timing of radiation therapy has not yet been defined since "early" radiation therapy improves relapse-free survival but not overall survival. Since a longer progression-free survival is desirable, the main issue related to radiotherapy is the incidence of late neurocognitive toxicity. Materials and methods: Ninety-five patients with low-grade glioma were consecutively treated with early (within 3 months) or late (at disease progression) post-surgical radiation therapy. Clinical and therapeutic factors were entered into the analysis overall (OS) and progression-free (PFS) survival, and the distribution in two accrual periods identified based on the evolution of imaging procedures and radiotherapy techniques were compared. For 6/18 long survivors (LS) without evidence of disease, neurocognitive evaluation was obtained and the dose to the hippocampus region was retrospectively calculated. Results: Univariate analysis of OS showed a statistically significant advantage for grade 1 and oligodendroglioma histology, better performance status [Karnofsky index (KI)], age <40 years, radical surgery, no steroid treatment; PFS was significantly related with younger age, better KI and "early" radiotherapy. Multivariate analysis of OS confirmed the significance of all variables except surgery; for PFS, only "early" radiotherapy and better KI retained significance. Memory impairment was evident in 4/6 of the LS tested; quality of life was good and executive functions were normal. Conclusion: Radiotherapy remains an essential component in the treatment of low-grade glioma. Prospective studies are needed to evaluate the relative contributions of the disease itself and of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to long-term neurocognitive damage.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRadiologia Medica
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)432-439
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2014


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