The initial management of malignant gliomas is multimodality in nature, consisting of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. However, once progression has occurred, treatment options are limited both in terms of selection and efficacy. We report a case of a 37 year-old male diagnosed with a Grade II astrocytoma initially treated with surgery and external beam radiation therapy consisting of 54 Gy delivered in 1.8 Gy fractions that subsequently progressed to a Grade IV astrocytoma. This was managed with temozolomide chemotherapy until the patient exhibited further progression. Although the patient had received prior full dose radiotherapy, he was re-treated with external beam radiotherapy delivered at a substantially reduced dose-rate. This reduction in dose-rate is obtained by delivering treatment in a series of 0.2 Gy pulses separated by 3 min time intervals, creating an apparent dose rate of 0.0667 Gy/min. The region of recurrence was treated to a dose of 50 Gy delivered using 25 daily fractions of 2.0 Gy. The patient had both a radiographic response and clinical improvement following re-irradiation using pulsed reduced dose-rate radiotherapy with no apparent acute or late neurologic toxicities at a time when other treatment options were not available. Despite delivering 104 Gy to the tumor bed and the surrounding brain parenchyma, at no time was there radiographic evidence of radiation-induced normal tissue necrosis. The radiobiologic basis for the use of pulsed reduced dose-rate external beam radiotherapy in the management of recurrent glioma patients is discussed.
Central nervous system Recurrent glioma Re-irradiation Reduced dose-rate
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