Long term survivors of childhood brain stem gliomas treated with hyperfractionated radiotherapy: Clinical characteristics and treatment related toxicities

Carolyn R. Freeman, Pierre M. Bourgouin, R. Alex Sanford, Michael E. Cohen, Henry S. Friedman, Larry E. Kun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND. Over the past decade, the principal focus of research in pediatric brain stem gliomas has been on the use of hyperfractionated radiotherapy (HRT). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical characteristics and treatment related toxicities of long term survivors of HRT treatment. METHODS. Of the 130 children with brain stem tumors treated with escalating doses of HRT on Pediatric Oncology Group (POG) 8495, there are only 9 long term survivors. Prospectively collected data, including flow sheets and all pretreatment and follow-up radiologic studies, were reviewed for these patients. Additional information was requested from the treating institutions with regard to sequelae of treatment. RESULTS. Clinical characteristics (including age, sex, duration of symptoms, and presenting signs) for the nine surviving patients were not different from the total population of patients treated on POG 8495. Pretreatment imaging, however, revealed that only four of the nine patients had typical diffuse intrinsic pontine lesions and, conversely, that at least three of the nine patients had lesions that would now be considered relatively favorable. Complete information regarding treatment related toxicity was available for eight patients, only one of whom is without sequelae. Seven have schooling difficulties, two have a seizure disorder, five have hearing loss, and two have required growth hormone replacement. Follow-up imaging findings were striking in four of the eight patients because of white matter changes consistent with leukoencephalopathy (two patients), diffuse microhemorrhages (one patient), and dystrophic calcification (one patient) in the radiation field. CONCLUSIONS. The high frequency of treatment related sequelae in long term survivors of HRT suggests a need for caution in the use of HRT, particularly in patients who have brain stem tumors with a more favorable prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-562
Number of pages8
JournalCancer
Volume77
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 1996

Keywords

  • brain stem tumors
  • hyperfractionated radiotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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