Purpose: To present outcome data in a prospective study of radiotherapy (RT) with concurrent and adjuvant temozolomide (TMZ) in children with diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs).
Methods and materials: Pediatric patients with newly diagnosed DIPGs were prospectively treated with focal RT to a dose of 54 Gy in 30 fractions along with concurrent daily TMZ (75 mg/m(2), Days 1-42). Four weeks after completing the initial RT-TMZ schedule, adjuvant TMZ (200 mg/m(2), Days 1-5) was given every 28 days to a maximum of 12 cycles. Response was evaluated clinically and radiologically with magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography scans.
Results: Between March 2005 and November 2006, 20 children (mean age, 8.3 years) were accrued. Eighteen patients have died from disease progression, one patient is alive with progressive disease, and one patient is alive with stable disease. Median overall survival and progression-free survival were 9.15 months and 6.9 months, respectively. Grade III/IV toxicity during the concurrent RT-TMZ phase included thrombocytopenia in 3 patients, leucopenia in 2, and vomiting in 7. Transient Grade II skin toxicity developed in the irradiated fields in 18 patients. During the adjuvant TMZ phase, Grade III/IV leucopenia developed in 2 patients and Grade IV thrombocytopenia in 1 patient. Patients with magnetic resonance imaging diagnosis of a high-grade tumor had worse survival than those with a low-grade tumor (p = 0.001). Patients with neurologic improvement after RT-TMZ had significantly better survival than those who did not (p = 0.048).
Conclusions: TMZ with RT has not yielded any improvement in the outcome of DIPG compared with RT alone. Further clinical trials should explore novel treatment modalities.