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Implanted Wafer Helps Fight Brain Cancer

Gliadel Wafer releases chemotherapy directly to tumor, researchers say

FRIDAY, March 17, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- An implantable, biodegradable wafer that releases chemotherapy close to brain tumors offers long-term survival benefit for people with high-grade malignant gliomas, researchers report.

In the United States, the "Gliadel Wafer" is currently approved for treatment of patients with newly-diagnosed high-grade malignant gliomas as an adjunct to surgery and radiation. It's also indicated to treat a particularly deadly brain cancer, recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, when used in addition to surgery.

The newly published data reports long-term survival results on 59 of 240 patients with high-grade malignant gliomas who took part in a previously published study. That study found that patients treated with Gliadel Wafer in combination with radiation therapy had a three-year survival rate of 9.2 percent, compared to 1.7 percent for patients who received a placebo.

The latest data shows that, of the 59 patients available for long-term follow-up, 11 were alive after 56 months. Of those 11 patients, nine had received Gliadel Wafer and two had received placebo wafers. The researchers concluded that treatment with Gliadel Wafer was associated with a 27 percent reduction in risk of death over the study period.

"We feel that the publication of this important data contributes significantly to the result of the randomized, placebo-controlled study, showing that patients with high-grade malignant gliomas have a better chance of long-term survival when treated with Gliadel Wafer," lead investigator Dr. Manfred Westphal, of the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, said in a prepared statement.

The findings are published in the March issue of the European Journal of Neurosurgery.

More information

The National Library of Medicine has more about gliomas.

SOURCE: MGI Pharma Inc., news release, March 8, 2006
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