BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: There is insufficient evidence to support stroke prevention guidelines for childhood cancer survivors (CCS) treated with cranial irradiation for CNS tumors or other childhood cancers involving the CNS. We used a systematic consensus-building methodology to develop expert recommendations and define areas of controversy in managing asymptomatic CCS at risk for stroke. METHODS: A Delphi process was used to query a multispecialty panel of 45 physicians from the United States/Canada, with expertise in CCS, about their stroke screening and management practices (imaging, referrals, laboratory testing, and medications). Three iterative rounds of anonymous, scenario-based questionnaires, building on panelists' aggregate responses, were used to reach consensus (≥90% agreement), agreement (89%-70% agree), or to understand the rationale for disagreement (<70% agree). RESULTS: All 45 physicians participated in the first 2 rounds and 44 in the third. Panelists reached consensus on indications for referral to neurology and laboratory screening for modifiable cerebral vascular disease (CVD) risk factors in most scenarios. Panelists agreed that aspirin therapy is not recommended in the scenario of normal neuroimaging (86% agreed). Decisions about aspirin therapy in scenarios with abnormal neuroimaging were deferred to specialists; almost all agreed with not using aspirin for cavernomas with no evidence for previous hemorrhage (93%) and using aspirin for both large vessel CVD (93%) and small vessel CVD with evidence of previous stroke (86%). Clinical decisions that remain controversial (less than 70% agreement) include neuroimaging to screen asymptomatic CCS for CVD, referral to neurology for cavernomas, aspirin use in the setting of cavernomas with previous hemorrhage, or with evidence for small vessel CVD and no previous stroke, and indications for statins. Overall, pediatric neurologists/neuro-oncologists and radiation oncologists were more likely to advocate for screening and interventions. DISCUSSION: Despite lack of evidence to guide the management of CCS at risk for stroke, expert recommendations and rationale developed by consensus methodology are helpful to support clinical decision-making.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology