Primary CNS Tumours – Clinical Epidemiology

Chapter 1 - Epidemiology, Pathogenesis and Risk Factors of Brain Tumours

Prognostic factors and therapeutic measures (resection, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, new therapy) impact survival in primary CNS tumour patients.

Multivariate analysis is one method used to take into account different prognostic factors for the survival analysis.

Usually, median survival in population studies (all patients [with good or poor prognostic factors] are included) is shorter than in clinical trials (only selected patients are included).

Glioblastoma is the most frequent glioma with the worst prognosis (median survival ≈10 months in population studies, and 14.6 months in the group of patients treated with radiotherapy and temozolomide in the pivotal study of Stupp et al)

Most children with pilocytic astrocytoma who have a complete resection are cured without further oncological treatment.

The quality of life (QoL) of oligodendroglioma patients is often preserved for several years with surgery(ies) and oral chemotherapy.

The QoL of primary CNS tumour patients is often affected by a variety of symptoms, depression and fatigue. Diagnosis of a brain tumour is a life-changing event for patients and families.

Helping these patients, treating symptoms and improving QoL at all stages of illness are important goals for the multidisciplinary care team.

Supportive care teams can improve the patient’s QoL, symptom burden and even survival.

Revision Questions

  1. Age at diagnosis is the only prognostic factor in gliomas. True or false?
  2. What is the median survival for glioblastoma patients in population studies?
  3. What are the main clinical symptoms in primary CNS tumour patients?

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Last update: 18 September 2017