Randomised trial on the efficacy of radiotherapy for cerebral low-grade glioma in the adult: EORTC 22845 randomised trial

When should people with a low grade brain tumour be treated with radiotherapy?

What was this study about?

In the mid 1980s, doctors and researchers weren’t sure about whether to give radiotherapy to people who had had an operation to remove a type of brain tumour called a low-grade glioma. So in 1986 the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer set up a randomised controlled trial called 22845 and worked with the Medical Research Council in the UK, where the trial was called BR04.

The BR04 trial aimed to find out when it would be best to give radiotherapy to people who had had an operation to remove a low grade glioma. People who took part in the trial were divided into two groups. Patients in the first group were given radiotherapy within 8 weeks of their surgery. Patients in the second group received no radiotherapy until their tumour grew again. Researchers then followed what happened to patients in both groups for around eight years.

What difference did this study make?

This trial found that giving radiotherapy to people with a low-grade glioma soon after an operation did not help them to live longer. But it did stop the cancer coming back so quickly – on average, people were free of their cancer for around three years if they were not treated with radiotherapy, and around five years if they were.

This trial showed that two approaches to treatment after an operation to treat a low-grade glioma could be recommended. Radiotherapy can be given immediately, or if patients are well and willing to return for regular check-ups it can be delayed. The trial therefore provided information to help patients and their doctors decide what is the best approach for them.

Type of study

Randomised trial

Contact details

Who funded the study?

This trial was funded by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer and the Medical Research Council.

When did it take place?

Patients were recruited between March 1986 and September 1997. The early results of the trial were published in 2002. Researchers continued to follow what happened to patients. They published another report on this in 2005.

Where did it take place?

Participants in the trial came from 12 different countries across Europe.

Who was included?

311 patients with a low grade glioma took part in this study.