Oxygen as Healer

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may help treat glioblastoma

(RxWiki News) Cancer doesn't like an abundance of oxygen; the disease thrives in low-oxygen environments. A unique trial is under way evaluating if hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help brain cancer patients.

Scientists are studying the effects of breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber - hyperbaric oxygen therapy - to see if it may help patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. This is an additional therapy to the standard of care.

"Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may aid treatment of brain cancer."

Neuro-oncologist J. Paul Duic, M.D., principal investigator on the study and co-director of The Long Island Brain Tumor Center, says glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of brain cancer, with a poor outlook for patients. That's why new strategies for treating the disease "are clearly needed."

Most people diagnosed with glioblastomas live 12-14 months after diagnosis, while the two-year survival is only 26 percent.

Study participants will receive the standard of care, which includes Temodar (temozolomide) along with radiation therapy plus the hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Jai Grewal, M.D., sub-investigator on the study and co-director of The Long Island Brain Tumor Center, explains that brain tumors tend to grow in what's termed "a low-oxygen metabolic state." And it's believed that this environment helps tumors survive chemotherapy and radiation.

So the objective of this study is to see if increasing oxygen boosts the effectiveness of standard therapies. Two recent Japanese clinical trials have demonstrated that hyperbaric oxygen therapy extends the lives of brain cancer patients.

For this trial, hyperbaric treatments will be added to the standard six-weeks of radiation and chemotherapy using temozolomide.

Participants, who have recently been diagnosed with glioblastoma, are still being recruited for this Phase II trial being conducted at Neurological Surgery, P.C. offices in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York, as well as at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York.

Results will be compared with recently published results showing that temozolomide added to radiation therapy prolongs the lives of those with newly diagnosed glioblastoma.

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 22,070 new cases of primary malignant brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumors were diagnosed in the United States in 2010.

Review Date: 
July 26, 2011