Pilot Study: Repurposing Drugs in Malignant Glioma

Pilot Study: Repurposing Drugs in Malignant Glioma

Project Overview

Malignant glioma is the most common primary tumour of the brain in adults and despite advances in surgical, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, the median survival of patients with this disease is a little over a year.

Whilst advances in treatments such as immunotherapy may have a future role, it is likely that a multimodal treatment regime including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, immunotherapy, as well as metabolic changes in cancer cells will lead to improved outcomes.

By using widely available medications to induce these metabolic changes in the cancer cells before standard treatments, the researchers believe a significant change in the outcome for patients with malignant glioma can be attained.

Patients Required

Estimated completion

Sept 2020

Total Patients Required


Study Location

The Wesley Hospital

Project Aim

The overall aim of this Pilot study is to assess the safety and tolerability of the combined therapy of metformin, atorvastatin and celecoxib in patients with malignant gliomas (WHO grade IV).

Each of these medications has a long prescribing history and is available as part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The benefit of using metformin, atorvastatin or celecoxib as a single therapy or bimodal therapy concurrently with standard treatment has shown a strong synergy in growth inhibition in cancers that have a greater prognosis than malignant glioma.

This combination of medications has not been used to treat malignant glioma previously and starting treatment prior to surgery is also a novel management strategy.

Project Impact

The use of multi-modal therapy of metformin, atorvastatin or celecoxib, as pre- and post-cancer therapy has the potential to improve the overall survival of patients with malignant glioma. 

If this pilot study is successful, it is hoped that this regime could be expanded into a larger group of patients with malignant glioma to determine whether the addition of this drug regime to standard therapy influences patient outcomes.



Professor (Dr) David Walker
Neurosurgeon & Lead Researcher

With this combined drug regime showing impact in other malignancies, it is important we investigate whether patients with malignant gliomas will also benefit.

Professor David Walker, Lead Researcher

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