Randomized neutron dose searching study for malignant gliomas of the brain: Results of an RTOG study

G. E. Laramore, M. Diener-west, T. W. Griffin, J. S. Nelson, M. L. Griem, F. J. Thomas, F. R. Hendrickson, B. R. Griffin, L. C. Myrianthopoulos, J. Saxton

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66 Scopus citations


From September 1980 through January 1985, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) conducted a randomized, dose-searching study testing the efficacy of a concomitant neutron boost along with whole brain photon irradiation in the treatment of malignant gliomas of the brain. Patients had to have biopsy-proven, supratentorial, anaplastic astrocytoma or glioblastoma multiforme (Nelson schema) to be eligible for the study. The whole brain photon irradiation was given at 1.5 Gy per treatment, 5 days-a-week to a total dose of 45 Gy. Two days-a-week the patients were to receive neutron boost irradiation to the tumor volume as determined on CT scans. The neutron irradiation was to be given prior to and within 3 hours of the photon irradiation on that day. The rationale for this particular treatment regime is discussed. A total of 190 evaluable patients were randomized among 6 different neutron dose levels: 3.6, 4.2, 4.8, 5.2, 5.6 and 6.0 Gyo. There was no difference in overall survival among the 6 different dose levels, but for patients having less aggressive tumor histology (anaplastic astrocytoma), there was a suggestion that patients on the higher dose levels had poorer overall survival than patients on the lower dose levels and also did worse than historical photon controls. Important prognostic factors were identified using a Cox stepwise regression analysis. Tumor histology, Karnofsky performance status, and patient age were found to be related to survival while extent of surgery and neutron dose had no significant impact. Autopsies were performed on 35 patients and the results correlated with the actual neutron dose as determined by central-axis isodose calculations. At all dose levels there were some patients with both radiation damage to normal brain tissue and evidence of viable tumor. No evidence was found for a therapeutic window using this particular treatment regimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1102
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaplastic astrocytoma
  • Glioblastoma
  • Neutron radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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