Impact of overall corticosteroid exposure during chemoradiotherapy on lymphopenia and survival of glioblastoma patients

Caressa Y. Hui, Soumon Rudra, Sirui Ma, Jian L. Campian, Jiayi Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: Corticosteroids are commonly used to alleviate symptoms from cerebral vasogenic edema in glioblastoma (GBM) patients. This study evaluated the impact of overall corticosteroid exposure during chemoradiotherapy (CRT) on acute severe lymphopenia (ASL) and survival outcomes of GBM patients. Methods: GBM patients treated with CRT from 2007 to 2016 were retrospectively analyzed. Overall corticosteroid exposure was estimated as the average daily dexamethasone dose during 6 weeks of CRT. ASL was defined as grade 3 or higher lymphopenia within 3 months of starting CRT. ASL rates, overall survival (OS), and progression-free survival (PFS) were analyzed using Kaplan–Meier method. Multivariable analysis (MVA) was performed using logistic and Cox regression to identify independent predictors of ASL and survival outcomes, respectively. Results: Of the 319 eligible patients, the median daily dexamethasone use was 2 mg/day. The high-dose dexamethasone cohort (> 2 mg/day) had significantly higher ASL and worse OS than the low-dose dexamethasone cohort: 3-month ASL of 43.7% versus 19.8% (p < 0.003) and median OS of 12.6 months versus 17.9 months (p < 0.001), respectively. On MVA, higher dexamethasone use was independently associated with higher ASL and worse OS, but not worse PFS. A subset analysis of patients with gross-total resection found that higher dexamethasone use was significantly associated with ASL, but not OS. Conclusion: Increased corticosteroid use among GBM patients during CRT appears to be an independent risk factor for developing subsequent ASL. Its apparent association with worse OS may be influenced by other confounding factors and would need to be validated through prospective investigations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Corticosteroids
  • Glioblastoma
  • Lymphopenia


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