Adjuvant Radiation in Older Patients With Glioblastoma: A Retrospective Single Institution Analysis.



Standard 6-week and hypofractionated 3-week courses of adjuvant radiation therapy (RT) are both options for older patients with glioblastoma (GBM), but deciding the optimal regimen can be challenging. This analysis explores clinical factors associated with selection of RT course, completion of RT, and outcomes following RT.

Materials and methods

This IRB-approved retrospective analysis identified patients ≥70 years old with GBM who initiated adjuvant RT at our institution between 2004 and 2016. We identified factors associated with standard or hypofractionated RT using the Cochran-Armitage trend test, estimated time-to-event endpoints using the Kaplan-Meier method, and found predictors of overall survival (OS) using Cox proportional hazards models.


Sixty-two patients with a median age of 74 (range 70-90) initiated adjuvant RT, with 43 (69%) receiving standard RT and 19 (31%) receiving hypofractionated RT. Selection of short-course RT was associated with older age (p = 0.04) and poor KPS (p = 0.03). Eight (13%) patients did not complete RT, primarily for hospice care due to worsening symptoms. After a median follow-up of 37 months, median OS was 12.3 months (95% CI 9.0-15.1). Increased age (p < 0.05), poor KPS (p < 0.0001), lack of MGMT methylation (p < 0.05), and lack of RT completion (p < 0.0001) were associated with worse OS on multivariate analysis. In this small cohort, GTV size and receipt of standard or hypofractionated RT were not associated with OS.


In this cohort of older patients with GBM, age and KPS was associated with selection of short-course or standard RT. These regimens had similar OS, though a subset of patients experienced worsening symptoms during RT and discontinued treatment. Further investigation into predictors of RT completion and survival may help guide adjuvant therapies and supportive care for older patients.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Lee, Jessica W, John P Kirkpatrick, Frances McSherry, James E Herndon, Eric S Lipp, Annick Desjardins, Dina M Randazzo, Henry S Friedman, et al. (2021). Adjuvant Radiation in Older Patients With Glioblastoma: A Retrospective Single Institution Analysis. Frontiers in oncology, 11. p. 631618. 10.3389/fonc.2021.631618 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



John P. Kirkpatrick

Professor of Radiation Oncology

Malignant and benign tumors of the brain, spine and base of skull. Mathematical modelling of tumor metabolism, mass transfer and the response to ionizing radiation. Enhancing clinical outcome in stereotactic radiosurgery, fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy and stereotactic body radiotherapy.


James Emmett Herndon

Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Current research interests have application to the design and analysis of cancer clinical trials. Specifically, interests include the use of time-dependent covariables within survival models, the design of phase II cancer clinical trials which minimize some of the logistical problems associated with their conduct, and the analysis of longitudinal studies with informative censoring (in particular, quality of life studies of patients with advanced cancer).


Annick Desjardins

Professor of Neurosurgery

David Michael Ashley

Rory David Deutsch Distinguished Professor of Neuro-Oncology

My career in cancer research dates more than two decades. I am credentialed in both pediatric and adult neuro-oncology practice and this has been the focus of my efforts in translational research and leadership. As evident from my publication and grant support record, my primary academic focus has been on neurologic tumors, the development of innovative therapies and approaches to care. These efforts have included basic and translational laboratory research. My experience includes moving laboratory findings in brain tumor immunology and epigenetics into early phase clinical trials. I have expertise in immuno-oncology, having developed and clinically tested dendritic cell vaccines and other immuno-therapeutics. My achievements in research have led to change in practice in the care of children and adults with brain tumors, including the introduction of new standards of practice for the delivery of systemic therapy. I am highly regarded for this work, as evidenced by numerous invitations to plenary sessions and symposia of international standing. I have been the principal investigator of a number of important national and international studies, both clinical and pre-clinical. I am recognized as a senior figure and opinion leader in neuro-oncology nationally and internationally. I have held several significant leadership roles, including Director of two major cancer centers, I served as the Chair of Medicine at Deakin University, the Program Director of Cancer Services at University Hospital Barwon Health, and Executive Director of the Western Alliance Academic Health Science Centre (Australia). I began my current position as Director of The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Head, Preuss Laboratory, in March 2018. In this role, I am responsible for the clinical care, research, and educational program related to Brain Tumor Center. I am also a senior investigational neuro-oncologist within the adult brain tumor program at Duke.


Katherine Barnett Peters

Professor of Neurosurgery

Katy Peters, MD, PhD, FAAN is a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center (PRTBTC) at Duke.   Her academic medical career started at Stanford University School of Medicine, receiving an MD and Ph.D. in Cancer Biology.  After completing a neurology residency at Johns Hopkins University and a fellowship in cognitive neurosciences, Katy joined the PRTBTC as a neuro-oncology fellow.  In 2009, she became a faculty member at PRTBTC.  With a fantastic team of nursing and advanced practice providers, she actively sees and cares for patients with primary brain tumors.  Her research interests include supportive care for brain cancer patients, cognitive dysfunction in cancer patients, and physical function and activity of brain cancer patients.   While she runs clinical trials to treat primary brain tumors, her key interest is on clinical trials that focus on improving brain tumor patients' quality of life and cognition.   In 2019, the PRTBTC designated her as the Director of Supportive Care, thus furthering the PRTBTC and her committee to better the quality of life for brain tumor patients.   She is active in teaching medical school students, residents, fellows, and advanced practice providers and is the Program Director of the PRTBRC neuro-oncology fellowship.     She is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties for neuro-oncology.


Margaret Johnson

Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

I am a neuro-oncologist, neurologist, and palliative care physician at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center. I also provide neuro-oncology expertise for the National Tele-Oncology Program and National Precision Oncology Program at the Veteran's Health Administration. My clinical and research interests encompass supportive care and palliative care with a special interest in older adults with brain tumors. The incidence of malignant brain tumors like glioblastoma and non-malignant tumors like meningioma affect aging populations and it is crucial to be able to provide better care for these patients. 

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.