Phase II study of pre-irradiation chemotherapy for childhood intracranial ependymoma. Children's Cancer Group protocol 9942: a report from the Children's Oncology Group.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2012 Dec 4;59(7):1183-9. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Division of Pediatric Oncology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York.

Purpose: Standard therapy for childhood intracranial ependymoma is maximal tumor resection followed by involved-field irradiation. Although not used routinely, chemotherapy has produced objective responses in ependymoma, both at recurrence and in infants. Because the presence of residual tumor following surgery is consistently associated with inferior outcome, the potential impact of pre-irradiation chemotherapy was investigated.

Methods: Between 1995 and 1999, the Children's Cancer Group undertook a Phase II trial of pre-irradiation chemotherapy in children 3-21 years of age with intracranial ependymoma and radiological evidence of post-operative residual tumor.

Results: Of 84 patients, 41 had residual tumor, and were given four cycles of cisplatin-based chemotherapy prior to irradiation. Of 35 patients fully evaluable for response to chemotherapy, 14 (40%) demonstrated complete response, 6 (17%) partial response, 10 (29%) minor response or stable disease, and 5 (14%) demonstrated progressive tumor growth. For the entire group, 5-year overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) was 71 ± 6%, and 57 ± 6%, respectively. The pre-irradiation chemotherapy group demonstrated EFS comparable to that of patients with no residual tumor who received irradiation alone (55 ± 8% vs. 58 ± 9%, P = 0.45). Any benefit of chemotherapy was restricted to patients with greater than 90% tumor resection.

Conclusions: Children with near total resection of ependymoma may benefit from pre-irradiation chemotherapy. Patients with subtotal resection have inferior outcome despite responses to chemotherapy, and should be considered for second-look surgery prior to irradiation. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2012; 59: 1183-1189. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.24274DOI Listing
December 2012
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