Division of Neurosurgery, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The prognostic factors and survival data were analyzed for 35 children (aged under 16 years at diagnosis) with childhood infatentorial ependymomas treated surgically at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto during the years 1970 to 1987. Tumor histology was reviewed individually and grouped into three categories (Categories I to III) for survival analysis. An overall 5-year survival rate of 44.6% was obtained after the exclusion of perioperative mortality. Factors associated with an improved 5-year survival rate were: total tumor removal, noninvasive tumors, Category I histology, age greater than 6 years, and absent physical signs of parenchymal invasion or lower cranial nerve involvement. The 5-year survival rate was lower when associated with Category III histology, brain-stem or cranial nerve signs, age less than 2 years, tumor invasion and/or cranial nerve involvement, and subtotal tumor removal. Clinical evidence of spinal metastases was found to be uncommon (3.1%). Surgical excision followed by radiation therapy was the primary mode of treatment for these tumors. Different approaches regarding the volume of radiotherapy to be delivered and the use of adjuvant chemotherapy are discussed.