The role of brachytherapy in the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme

Eric Barbarite, Justin T. Sick, Emmanuel Berchmans, Amade Bregy, Ashish H. Shah, Nagy Elsayyad, Ricardo J Komotar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Brachytherapy (BT) for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) involves the use of radioactive isotopes to deliver ionizing radiation directly into the tumor bed. Its application as a means to prolong survival in GBM patients over the past few decades has come with variable success. The objective of this review is to describe the utility of BT in GBM, and to report the outcomes and adverse events associated with its use in different multimodal treatment approaches. A search of the literature was conducted using the PubMed database. The most recent search was performed in September 2015. Thirty-two series involving 1571 patients were included in our review. The longest median overall survival (MOS) following BT for newly diagnosed GBM reached 28.5 months. Overall, 1-, 2-, and 3-year survival rates were 46–89 %, 20–57 %, and 14–27 %. For recurrent GBM, the longest reported MOS after BT was 15.9 months. One-, 2- and 3-year survival rates for recurrent GBM were 10–66 %, 3–23 %, and 9–15 %. Adverse events were reported in 27 % of patients. Reoperation for radiation necrosis occurred in 4 and 27 % of patients following low- and high-dose rate BT, respectively. BT is a feasible option for extending survival in carefully selected GBM patients. As patient outcomes and overall survival improve with more aggressive radiotherapy, so does the risk of radiation-related complications. The most effective use of BT is likely as a part of multimodal treatment with other novel therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalNeurosurgical Review
StateAccepted/In press - May 16 2016


  • Brachytherapy
  • Glioblastoma
  • Outcomes
  • Side effects
  • Systematic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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