Purpose of review: To summarize findings, discuss problems and define new questions from the past phase III trials in anaplastic gliomas.
Recent findings: The current standard of care for first-line treatment in anaplastic gliomas is radiotherapy or chemotherapy. The next steps are to define the role and optimal sequencing of combined modality treatment focusing on radiotherapy and temozolomide and to develop trials with novel targeted treatments. The feature of necrosis in oligodendroglial tumors needs to be further studied, and molecular prognosticators will take more room. These include O6-methylguanylmethyltransferase promoter methylation, isocitrate dehydrogenase mutations and epidermal growth factor receptor amplification. Further, the notion that all anaplastic oligodendroglial tumors with or without a relevant astrocytic component fall into the same prognostic category and the obvious difficulties to type and to grade anaplastic gliomas pose an enormous burden on local diagnosis. The current and upcoming trials including the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer 26053/22054 trial aim at solving some of these issues with an initial central pathology review.
Summary: Anaplastic gliomas are an important group of brain tumors to develop future molecularly targeted therapies and should therefore be in the main focus of academic and industrial drug development, which aims at efficacy and avoiding long-term side effects.