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Recurrent glioblastoma is a possibility that oncologists – and patients – must keep in mind during and after an initial course of treatment. Because it can be difficult to completely remove a tumor during surgery, there is always a possibility that the cancer might come back after a period of remission. As a result, survivors are typically scheduled for follow-up appointments and surveillance imaging every few months after the completion of their initial treatments.

Glioblastoma can come back anywhere in the brain or spinal cord. However, most recurrences are found near the site of the original tumor.

Treatment for a recurrent glioblastoma often differs slightly from the treatments used to address an initial tumor. That’s because:

  • Surgery may be an option, even if a patient already had surgery during the last round of treatment. However, oncologists will need to determine if the recurrent tumor can be safely resected and if the patient is healthy enough to undergo a second operation.
  • Radiation therapy is typically only given once. If a patient already had a course of traditional radiation therapy, an alternative (e.g., stereotactic radiosurgery) may be recommended instead.
  • A different combination of chemotherapy drugs will likely be recommended for patients with recurrent glioblastoma. If the same drugs are used the second time around, they may be administered in stronger doses or accelerated delivery cycles.

Individuals with recurrent glioblastoma may also be eligible for clinical trials, in which novel therapies are compared to the current standard of care. Through these important research studies, patients can access emerging treatments, such as vaccine therapies, biological therapies and gene therapies in the hopes that these options produce a better response than the initial treatments.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, patients can access a comprehensive range of treatments in a convenient and compassionate setting. Our Neuro-Oncology Program provides tailored therapies to patients with all types of brain and spinal cancer, and we specialize in second-line therapy for recurrent brain cancers, such as glioblastoma. No matter a patient’s diagnosis, our oncologists hand-select the most promising options for the patient’s unique needs while taking every step possible to enhance his or her quality of life.

For more information about Moffitt Cancer Center’s brain cancer treatment options, including the clinical trials that are currently accepting patients with recurrent glioblastoma, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.