Pre‐irradiation chemotherapy and hyperfractionated radiation therapy 66 Gy for children with brain stem tumors. A phase II study of the pediatric oncology group, protocol 8833

Cynthia S. Kretschmar, Nancy J. Tarbell, Patrick D. Barnes, Jeffrey P. Krischer, Peter C. Burger, Larry Kun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Scopus citations


Background. Fewer than 20% of children with intrinsic brain stem tumors survive longer than 2 years. Although some improvement has been noted in recent trials using higher doses of hyperfractionated radiation therapy (HRT), the feasibility of pre‐irradiation chemotherapy has not been explored in these patients with poor prognosis. Methods. Between February 1988 and March 1989, 37 patients were entered onto a Phase II Pediatric Oncology Group study for evaluating the feasibility, response, and toxicity of treating children with high‐risk brain stem tumors with chemotherapy followed by HRT (66 Gy). Chemotherapy consisted of four cycles of cisplatin (100 mg/m2) plus cyclophosphamide (3 g/m2). Results. Of 32 eligible patients, 65% improved clinically during the first 2–3 cycles of chemotherapy; 75% of those improving were weaned from steroids. On neuroradiology review of scans before and after chemotherapy, 3 patients had partial responses (PR, > 50% shrinkage), 23 had stable disease (SD), and 6 had progressive disease (PD). The median survival was 9 months. The three patients who attained a PR on chemotherapy were among the longest survivors at 38 plus, 44 plus, and 40 months. Toxicities included profound but brief marrow suppression, transient electrolyte‐renal dysfunction, and ototoxicity. Brain stem swelling from intravenous fluids caused transient deterioration in two patients. Six patients developed an unusual syndrome of transient marrow suppression after HRT. Conclusions. This study suggests that pre‐irradiation chemotherapy can be successfully added to the treatment of patients with brain stem tumors with both clinical and objective responses noted, but that other agents must be identified to overcome the apparent development of drug resistance and to improve survival. Cancer 1993; 72A404‐13.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1404-1413
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1993



  • brain stem tumor (or brain neoplasm and glioma)
  • chemotherapy
  • cyclophosphamide, cisplatin
  • hyperfractionated radiation therapy (or radiation therapy)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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