Symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, personality changes, seizures, and cognitive dysfunction. While the exact cause of GBM is not clear, it occurs more frequently in individuals with genetic conditions such as tuberous sclerosis, Turcot syndrome, and neurofibromatosis type I.

GBM generally occurs in older adults aged between 75-84 but can also affect people at younger ages. GBM is more prevalent in males than females, with approximate annual incidence rate range from 0.59 to 5 per 100,000 persons. GBM is on the rise in many countries, including South America, Eastern Europe, and Southern Europe.  In England, approximately 2500 individuals are diagnosed with GBM each year.

The primary goal of treating GBM patients is to alleviate symptoms whist attempting to increase both overall survival and progression-free survival rates, which are often very poor. Only around 25% of GBM patients survive for more than a year, and only 5% survive for more than five years. Current treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. New targeted treatments are also being developed to delay the growth of brain tumours.

Unmet needs of GBM

Treating GBM poses significant challenges in the development of effective therapies. One major hurdle is the delivery of treatment to the tumour, which is hindered by the presence of the blood-brain barrier and brain-to-tumour barrier. This makes it difficult for medications to reach the tumour site effectively. Another challenge lies in patient recruitment for GBM clinical trials, which can be difficult due to the advanced age of many GBM patients. Overcoming such obstacles is crucial in advancing the development of more successful treatment options for GBM.

There is also lack of data and brain cancer specific patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs).  Compounded by the neuro-cognitive side effects experienced by GBM patients in particular personality changes, seizures, and cognitive dysfunction, which can hinder GBM patient ability to provide comprehensive health-related quality of life data.

Generic PROM assessments may overlook GBM patients who could benefit most from early supportive care. This causes difficulties when evaluating the cost-effectiveness of treatments. Potentially resulting in insufficient support services being made commonly available to patients and their families.

The future of GBM

HCD Economics believes the development of new innovative therapies should be conducted alongside improved data capture of PROMs. Patient preference elicitation techniques could also be employed to provide insights on treatment attributes that are most important to patients and the people who care for them.

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