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Experimental treatment approaches for high-grade gliomas

Tracy Batchelor, MD, MPH
Jeffrey G Supko, PhD
Section Editors
Jay S Loeffler, MD
Patrick Y Wen, MD
Deputy Editor
April F Eichler, MD, MPH


The high-grade gliomas are malignant, often rapidly progressive brain tumors that are classified as anaplastic astrocytoma (AAs), anaplastic oligodendroglial tumors, and glioblastoma (GBM), based upon their histopathologic features. The prognosis for these patients is poor, even after aggressive treatment that includes surgery, adjuvant radiation therapy (RT), and adjuvant chemotherapy.

The development of new approaches to the treatment of high-grade gliomas proceeds through clinical trials in the same way as other malignancies. Issues of particular importance in developing agents to treat these patients include the following:

High-grade gliomas include multiple tumor types, with associated differences in natural history and response to treatment (GBMs versus AAs versus oligodendroglial tumors).

Concomitant medications (particularly corticosteroids and antiseizure drugs) can interact with the cytochrome P450 system, thus potentially altering the metabolism of systemic antitumor agents.

Accurate assessment of tumor response can be difficult, even with modern imaging modalities. Time to progression and the percentage of patients free from progression at six months are used as surrogate end points that more accurately reflect the antitumor activity of new agents.


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Mar 17, 2016.
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