Pulsed radiation therapy for the treatment of newly diagnosed glioblastoma

Muayad F. Almahariq, Thomas J. Quinn, Jessica D. Arden, P. T. Roskos, George D. Wilson, Brian Marples, Inga S. Grills, Peter Y. Chen, Daniel J. Krauss, Prakash Chinnaiyan, Joshua T. Dilworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Pulsed radiation therapy (PRT) has shown effective tumor control and superior normal-tissue sparing ability compared with standard radiotherapy (SRT) in preclinical models and retrospective clinical series. This is the first prospective trial to investigate PRT in the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM). Methods: This is a single-arm, prospective study. Patients with newly diagnosed GBM underwent surgery, followed by 60 Gy of PRT with concurrent temozolomide (TMZ). Each day, a 2-Gy fraction was divided into ten 0.2-Gy pulses, separated by 3-minute intervals. Patients received maintenance TMZ. Neurocognitive function (NCF) and quality of life (QoL) were monitored for 2 years using the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30 QoL questionnaire. Change in NCF was evaluated based on a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) threshold of 0.5 standard deviation. Results: Twenty patients were enrolled with a median follow-up of 21 months. Median age was 60 years. Forty percent underwent subtotal resection, and 60% underwent gross total resection. One patient had an isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)-mutated tumor. Median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 10.7 and 20.9 months, respectively. In a post-hoc comparison, median OS for the prospective cohort was longer, compared with a matched cohort receiving SRT (20.9 vs 14 mo, P = 0.042). There was no decline in QoL, and changes in NCF scores did not meet the threshold of an MCID. Conclusions: Treatment of newly diagnosed GBM with PRT is feasible and produces promising effectiveness while maintaining neurocognitive function and QoL. Validation of our results in a larger prospective trial warrants consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-456
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • glioblastoma
  • neurocognitive function
  • pulsed radiation therapy
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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