Primary chemotherapy with temozolomide vs. radiotherapy in patients with low grade glioma after stratification for genetic 1p loss: a phase III study. Intergroup Study (EORTC 22033-26033)

Drugs or radiotherapy? Which works best for brain tumours?

What is this study about?

Low grade gliomas are relatively rare brain tumours. If they are left untreated after initial diagnosis, in some cases they may not cause symptoms for several years. However they will usually prove fatal. When doctors decide treatment is needed, the patient will normally have radiotherapy. Unfortunately this will not cure the cancer and the radiotherapy can sometimes cause bad side effects. These include impairment of brain functions, for example memory loss.

A chemotherapy drug called temozolomide has proved promising in other brain tumours, but it has yet to be tested in patients with low grade glioma. It is possible that temozolomide could be a better treatment than radiotherapy for patients with these types of tumours.

This trial will therefore compare two treatments - radiotherapy or chemotherapy (using temozolomide) in patients for whom it is decided active treatment is needed. Patients entered onto the trial will be randomly selected to one of the two treatments available.

As part of the trial we will also look at the genetic type of each patient’s tumour, to see if this has any effect on how well the treatments work. This genetic type is not something that is inherited – it is a change that happens during a person’s lifetime. So this information will not cause concerns for family members. It will also not affect the treatment patients receive.

We hope that by identifying which treatment works best, we will help people who have this type of brain tumour in the future.

Type of study

Randomised trial

Contact details

Who is funding the study?

Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council.

When is it taking place?

Recruitment began in mid-2007 and finished earlier than expected in March 2010.

Results were presented at ASCO 2013, and a summary of the results published on the EORTC website.

Where is it taking place?

At hospitals throughout the UK, Europe and Canada.

Who is included?

People with newly diagnosed low grade glioma.