Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Clinical Oncology/Epidemiology

A Medical Research Council trial of two radiotherapy doses in the treatment of grades 3 and 4 astrocytoma

Abstract

A total of 474 adult patients with malignant glioma (astrocytoma) grade 3 or 4 were randomised into an MRC study (BR2) comparing 45 Gy (in 20 fractions over 4 weeks) with 60 Gy (in 30 fractions over 6 weeks) of radiotherapy given post-operatively. Using 2:1 randomisation, 318 patients were allocated the 60 Gy course and 156 the 45 Gy course. Adjuvant chemotherapy was not given. The results show that a 60 Gy course produces a modest lengthening of progression-free and overall survival. They suggest a statistically significant prolongation of median survival from 9 months in the 45 Gy group to 12 months in the 60 Gy group (hazard ratio = 0.75, chi 2 = 7.36, d.f. = 1, P = 0.007). Over 80% of patients reported no morbidity from the radiotherapy, and there was no evidence of increased short-term morbidity in the higher dose group. Late morbidity was not assessed. A prognostic index defined in a previous MRC study was validated in this new cohort. It identifies a group of patients (20% of the total) with a 2 year survival rate of 28% (95% confidence interval 19% to 38%). It was apparent that the survival advantage to the higher dose was maintained even in the poorest prognostic groups defined by this index.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Consortia

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bleehen, N., Stenning, S. & on behalf of the Medical Research Council Brain Tumour Working Party. A Medical Research Council trial of two radiotherapy doses in the treatment of grades 3 and 4 astrocytoma. Br J Cancer 64, 769–774 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1038/bjc.1991.396

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links