Gliadel® & Temodar® - Retrospective Studies
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Last Updated:9/12/2013 - This page reviewed and approved by Virginia Stark-Vance, M.D.

Combination therapy of Gliadel wafers and temozolomide: Several retrospective studies in patients with high-grade glioma


  • Barr JG, Grundy PL. The effects of the NICE Technology Appraisal 121 (Gliadel and temozolomide) on survival in high-grade glioma. Br J Neurosurg. 2012;26(6):818-822.
PubMed citation

Objective: The prognosis of high-grade glioma (HGG) is poor with a median survival of about 1 year for glioblastoma. In 2007, NICE published a technology appraisal (TA121) recommending the use of carmustine wafers (Gliadel) and systemic therapy with temozolomide for selected patients with HGG. Outcomes for HGG surgery in the United Kingdom with these combined treatments have not been published.

Design: Retrospective audit of consecutive patients in a single unit with carmustine wafer implantation.

Subjects: Fifty-nine patients had carmustine wafers implanted at primary surgery, between October 2005 and October 2010 at Wessex Neurological Centre, Southampton, UK.

Methods: Patients were given chemotherapeutic treatments strictly according to NICE TA121. Survival was calculated using Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: Fifty-five patients had WHO grade IV tumours and four had grade III. Median age was 61 years. At follow-up, 39 patients had died. Median survival was 15.3 months. Eight patients (13.5%) experienced post-operative complications (including five infections) for which four had the carmustine wafers removed. Forty-seven (80%) patients were treated with radical radiotherapy (55-60 Gy) and six (10%) patients received palliative radiotherapy (30 Gy). Thirty-seven patients (63%) received concomitant temozolomide chemotherapy. In the subset of 37 patients receiving multimodal treatment with radical radiotherapy and concomitant temozolomide, median survival was 15.8 months compared with 7.4 months in those not receiving multimodal treatment.

Discussion: Carmustine wafers for primary HGG surgery in accordance with the NICE TA121 were associated with a median survival of 15.3 months; this is improved compared with previously reported randomised trials. Multimodal treatment with carmustine wafers, radical radiotherapy and concomitant temozolomide was associated with improved survival. Increased incidence of infections was observed in cases receiving carmustine wafers.


  • McGirt MJ, Than KD, Weingart JD, et al. Gliadel (BCNU) wafer plus concomitant temozolomide therapy after primary resection of glioblastoma multiforme. J Neurosurg. 2009;110(3):583-588.
Pubmed Citation

Object: Gliadel (BCNU) wafer and concomitant temozolomide (TMZ) therapy, when used individually as adjuvant therapies, extend survival from that achieved by resection and radiation therapy (XRT) for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). It remains unstudied whether combining Gliadel and TMZ therapy is safe or further improves survival in patients with newly diagnosed GBM. The authors reviewed their initial experience utilizing combined Gliadel, TMZ, and radiation therapy for the treatment of GBM.

Methods: All cases involving patients undergoing primary resection of GBM with or without Gliadel wafer (3.85% BCNU) implantation and adjuvant XRT over a 10-year period (1997-2006) were retrospectively reviewed. Beginning in 2004, concomitant TMZ became the standard of care at the authors' institution and all patients with Gliadel implantation also received concomitant TMZ (Stupp protocol). Overall survival and treatment-related morbidity were assessed for all patients treated with Gliadel plus concomitant TMZ (XRT + Gliadel + TMZ). Age-matched (<70 years) comparison of survival and morbidity was performed between the XRT + Gliadel + TMZ (post-2003) and XRT + Gliadel (pre-2004) cohorts.

Results: Thirty-three patients were treated with XRT + Gliadel + TMZ. The median survival in this group was 20.7 months, with a 2-year survival rate of 36%. Six-month morbidity included surgical site infection in 1 case (3%), perioperative seizures in 2 cases (6%), deep-vein thrombus in 1 (3%), pulmonary embolism in 3 (9%), and cerebral edema requiring admission for intravenous dexamethasone in 1 case (3%). Myelosuppression required premature termination of TMZ in 7 patients (21%) (thrombocytopenia in 5, neutropenia in 2 cases). In patients <70 years of age, XRT + Gliadel + TMZ (30 patients, post-2003) was independently associated with improved median survival (21.3 vs 12.4 months, p = 0.005) versus XRT + Gliadel (78 patients, pre-2004), with 2-year survival of 39% versus 18%, respectively. In these patients, XRT + Gliadel + TMZ was not associated with an increase in perioperative morbidity in comparison with XRT + Gliadel.

Conclusions: In this experience, concomitant TMZ therapy in addition to Gliadel wafer implantation was associated with a median survival of nearly 21 months without increased perioperative morbidity. Temozolomide can be safely administered to patients receiving Gliadel wafers after resection of GBM.


  • Pan E, Mitchell SB, Tsai JS. A retrospective study of the safety of BCNU wafers with concurrent temozolomide and radiotherapy and adjuvant temozolomide for newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients. J Neurooncol. 2008;88(3):353-357.
PubMed citation

Despite aggressive therapy, most patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) die within 2 years of diagnosis. The efficacy and safety of carmustine (BCNU) wafers followed by radiotherapy have been demonstrated in patients with malignant glioma. However, there is a reluctance to recommend them for newly diagnosed GBM patients due to the potential toxicity of BCNU wafers combined with temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The purpose of this study was to assess the safety of BCNU wafers implanted at initial surgery, followed by concurrent TMZ and radiotherapy, and then adjuvant TMZ for the treatment of newly diagnosed GBM. We conducted a retrospective analysis of clinic and hospital records of 21 newly diagnosed GBM patients who received multimodal therapy at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute from January 2003 to December 2005. Three of 21 patients had grade 3 toxicities (two with cerebritis, one with psychosis). Grade 4 toxicities were not observed. Median overall survival was 17 months, median progression-free survival was 8.5 months, and 2-year survival was 39%. Multimodal treatment with surgery, BCNU wafers, radiotherapy, and TMZ did not result in a notable increase in significant toxicities. Survival outcomes were comparable to those in other studies in which patients were treated with concurrent TMZ and radiotherapy followed by adjuvant TMZ. Thus, the implantation of BCNU wafers prior to TMZ and radiotherapy appears safe in newly diagnosed GBM patients.


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