Dose Escalated Radiation Therapy for Glioblastoma Multiforme: An International Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of 22 Prospective Trials

Raj Singh, Eric J. Lehrer, Ming Wang, Haley K. Perlow, Nicholas G. Zaorsky, Daniel M. Trifiletti, Joseph Bovi, Pierina Navarria, Silvia Scoccianti, Vinai Gondi, Paul D. Brown, Joshua D. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose: Limited evidence is available on the utility of dose-escalated radiation therapy (DE-RT) with or without temozolomide (TMZ) versus standard-of-care radiation therapy (SoC-RT) for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme. We performed a systematic review/meta-analysis to compare overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) between DE-RT and SoC-RT. Methods and Materials: We used a Population, Intervention, Control, Outcomes, Study Design/Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses/Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology selection criterion to identify studies. The primary and secondary outcomes were 1-year OS and 1-year PFS, respectively. Outcomes and comparisons were subdivided based on receipt of TMZ and MGMT status. DE-RT was defined based on equivalent dose calculations. Random effects meta-analyses using the Knapp-Hartung correction, arcsine transformation, and restricted maximum likelihood method were conducted. Meta-regression was used to compare therapeutic (eg, DE-RT or TMZ) and pathologic characteristics (eg, MGMT methylation status) using the Wald-type test. Results: Across 22 published studies, 2198 patients with glioblastoma multiforme were included; 507 received DE-RT. One-year OS after DE-RT alone was higher than SoC-RT alone (46.3% vs 23.4%; P = .02) as was 1-year PFS (17.9% vs 5.3%; P = .02). No significant difference in 1-year OS (73.2% vs 64.4%; P = .23) or 1-year PFS (44.5% vs 44.3%; P = .33) between DE-RT + TMZ and SoC-RT + TMZ was noted. No difference in 1-year OS was noted between DE-RT + TMZ and SoC-RT + TMZ in either MGMT methylated (83.2% vs 73.2%; P = .23) or MGMT unmethylated (72.6% vs 50.6%; P = .16) patients. Conclusions: DE-RT alone resulted in superior PFS and OS versus SoC-RT alone. DE-RT + TMZ did not lead to improved outcomes versus SoC-RT + TMZ. No differential benefit based on MGMT status was found. Future studies are warranted to define which subgroups benefit most from DE-RT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-384
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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