The role of chemotherapy in pediatric clival chordomas

J Neurooncol. 2011 Jul;103(3):657-62. doi: 10.1007/s11060-010-0441-0. Epub 2010 Nov 5.


The purpose of this retrospective study was to review the role of chemotherapy in the treatment, management and outcome of children diagnosed with clival chordomas. The medical records of six pediatric chordoma patients diagnosed at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles between 1995 and 2005 were reviewed. Of the six patients reviewed, all underwent an initial surgical resection. Following resection, three received a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, two received chemotherapy alone and one patient refused both forms of therapy; this patient expired of progressive tumor. One patient developed acute monoblastic leukemia (M5a subtype) and died of intracranial hemorrhage during induction chemotherapy, 39 months after initial diagnosis. MRI of brain and spine showed disease progression shortly before his death. Two patients who received chemotherapy only after surgery, one patient who received chemotherapy at relapse following irradiation and one patient who received irradiation followed by chemotherapy are alive with stable radiographic abnormalities at a median follow-up of 9 years from diagnosis (range: 6-13 years). Chemotherapeutic agents included ifosfamide and etoposide in all four surviving patients. Chemotherapy with ifosfamide and etoposide may have a role in the treatment of pediatric clival chordomas when used alone or in combination with irradiation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chordoma / mortality
  • Chordoma / pathology*
  • Chordoma / surgery*
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies