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Surgery for high-grade gliomas in the aging


T. R. Meling, Senior Consultant, Department of Neurosurgery, Rikshospitalet, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, N-0027, Norway

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High-grade glioma (HGG) is the commonest primary brain tumor in adults. We prospectively assessed outcome following surgery and adjuvant treatment for HGG in older patients.

Materials and methods

Patients ≥ 60 years undergoing craniotomies for gliomas WHO grade 3 and 4 at Oslo and Haukeland University Hospitals 2008–2009 were included (n = 80). Outcome was assessed at six months, and overall mortality evaluated at two years.


Forty-two males and 38 females of median age 68.5 (60–83) years were included, 35% attended a follow-up appointment at six months. Surgical mortality was 1.3%. Surgical morbidity included neurological sequela (10%), post-operative hematomas (3.8%) and hydrocephalus (1.3%). Median overall survival was 8.4 months and significantly increased by adjuvant radiochemotherapy. In univariate survival analyses, age ≥ 80 years, subtotal resection, American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) scores 3–4, Karnofsky performance scale (KPS) < 70, and mini–mental state examination (MMSE) score < 25 significantly reduced survival.


Surgical treatment of HGG carries low mortality and acceptable morbidity in patients aged ≥ 60 years. There is improved survival following bimodal adjuvant treatment. Maximum tumor resection should be attempted. Treatment might be less beneficial in patients aged ≥ 80 years and in those with poor pre-operative function.