Roles of Valproic Acid in Improving Radiation Therapy for Glioblastoma: a Review of Literature Focusing on Clinical Evidence


Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive type of primary brain neoplasm. The current standard therapy for GBM consists of maximal surgical resection within safe limits, followed by radiation therapy (RT) and chemotherapy with temozolomide. Despite advances in treatment, the prognosis of GBM remains poor. Epileptic seizure is one of the most common symptoms in patients with GBM. Valproic acid (VPA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, is often used as an anti-epileptic drug in patients with brain neoplasms due to its effectiveness and low toxicity profile. Several in vivo and in vitro studies have indicated that VPA has radiosensitizing effects for gliomas and radioprotective influence on normal brain tissue or hippocampal neurons. The results of several retrospective studies have also indicated potential benefit to improve survival of patients with GBM. Moreover, the promising treatment results of a phase 2 trial of concurrent radiation therapy, temozolomide, and VPA for patients with GBM have been recently reported. The use of VPA in patients with GBM has thus recently receiving more attention. In this article, we review the role of VPA in radiation therapy for GBM, focusing on the clinical evidence.