A multi-institutional phase I study of acetazolamide with temozolomide in adults with newly diagnosed MGMT-methylated malignant glioma

Riley K. Driscoll, Sean B. Lyne, David J. Voce, Stefania Maraka, Vinai Gondi, Steven J. Chmura, Karan S. Dixit, Priya U. Kumthekar, Theodore G. Karrison, Peter Pytel, John M. Collins, Roger Stupp, Ryan T. Merrell, Rimas V. Lukas, Bakhtiar Yamini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. A significant unmet need exists for the treatment of glioblastoma, IDH-wildtype (GBM). Preclinical work shows that acetazolamide sensitizes GBM to temozolomide (TMZ) by overcoming TMZ resistance due to BCL-3-dependent upregulation of carbonic anhydrase. Acetazolamide is Food and Drug Administration-approved for the treatment of altitude sickness. Drug repurposing enables the application of drugs to diseases beyond initial indications. This multi-institutional, open-label, phase I trial examined a combination of acetazolamide and TMZ in patients with MGMT promoter-methylated high-grade glioma. Methods. A total of 24 patients (GBM, IDH-wildtype = 22; Grade 4 astrocytoma, IDH-mutant = 1; Grade 3 astrocytoma, IDH-mutant = 1) were accrued over 17 months. All patients received oral acetazolamide (250 mg BID for 7 days increased to 500 mg BID for Days 8-21 of each 28-day cycle) during the adjuvant phase of TMZ for up to 6 cycles. Results. No patient had a dose-limiting toxicity. Adverse events were consistent with known sequelae of acetazolamide and TMZ. In the 23 WHO Grade 4 patients, the median overall survival (OS) was 30.1 months and the median progression-free survival was 16.0 months. The 2-year OS was 60.9%. In total 37% of the study population had high BCL-3 staining and trended toward shorter OS (17.2 months vs N.R., P = .06). Conclusions. The addition of acetazolamide is safe and tolerable in GBM patients receiving standard TMZ. Survival results compare favorably to historical data from randomized trials in patients with MGMT promoter-methylated GBM and support examination of acetazolamide in a randomized trial. BCL-3 expression is a potential biomarker for prognosis in GBM or for patients more likely to benefit from TMZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbervdae014
JournalNeuro-Oncology Advances
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • acetazolamide
  • clinical trial
  • drug repurposing
  • glioblastoma
  • temozolomide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'A multi-institutional phase I study of acetazolamide with temozolomide in adults with newly diagnosed MGMT-methylated malignant glioma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this