Management of recurrent medulloblastoma in adult patients: a systematic review and recommendations

J Neurooncol. 2013 Oct;115(1):1-8. doi: 10.1007/s11060-013-1206-3. Epub 2013 Jul 23.


Medulloblastoma accounts for almost one-third of pediatric central nervous system (CNS) cancers, but is very rare in the adult population. As a result, adult patients with medulloblastoma are often treated according to therapies developed for children with similarly staged disease at diagnosis, based on the assumption that adult and pediatric tumors have similar properties. The purpose of this review was to summarize the evidence and to make recommendations for the management of recurrent disease in adult patients with medulloblastoma. We conducted a systematic literature search to find publications addressing treatment of recurrent medulloblastoma in adults. Current treatment strategies for adult patients with relapsed medulloblastoma are based on the results of retrospective case series and published consensus recommendations, and include maximal safe re-resection where possible, combined with chemotherapy and/or re-irradiation. We describe the results of 13 publications involving 66 adult patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) plus stem cell transplantation for recurrent medulloblastoma. HDCT with stem cell transplantation may be a treatment option for a small proportion of adult patients who are unlikely to benefit from conventional chemotherapy and who are fit and have their disease recurrence contained within the CNS. Potential cases in which stem cell transplantation is being considered should be discussed at a multidisciplinary tumor board which includes involvement by hematologic oncologists and transplant specialists.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Medulloblastoma / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*