Treatment outcomes and late toxicities in patients with embryonal central nervous system tumors

Radiat Oncol. 2014 Sep 11:9:201. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-9-201.


Background: Standard treatment strategies for embryonal central nervous system (CNS) tumors have not yet been established. We treated these tumors using an original chemoradiation therapy protocol; the clinical outcomes and toxicities were retrospectively evaluated.

Methods: Twenty-four patients were enrolled including sixteen with medulloblastoma, four with supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor (sPNET), three with atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor, and one with pineoblastoma. Immediately after diagnosis, all patients underwent surgery initially. They were then categorized as high- or average-risk groups independent of tumor type/pathogenesis. The average-risk group included patients who were aged ≥3 years at diagnosis, had non-metastatic disease at diagnosis (M0), and had undergone gross total resection. Other patients were categorized as the high-risk group; this group received more intensive treatment than the average-risk group, including high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem-cell transplantation. All patients received craniospinal irradiation (CSI). The CSI dose was 23.4 Gy for M0 patients aged ≥5 years, 18 Gy for M0 patients aged <5 years, and 30-36 Gy for all patients with M + disease. The total dose to the primary tumor bed was 54 Gy.

Results: The median follow-up time was 73.5 (range, 19-118) months. The 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were 71.1 and 88.9%, respectively in the average-risk group (n = 9) and 66.7 and 71.1%, respectively in the high-risk group (n = 15). The PFS and OS rates were not significantly different between the average- and high-risk groups. In patients with medulloblastoma only, these rates were also not significantly different between the average- and high-risk groups. Three of four patients with sPNET were disease free. The height standard deviation score (SDS) was significantly decreased at the last assessment relative to that at diagnosis (P < 0.0001). The latest median height SDS was -1.6 (range, 0.9 to -4.8), and the latest median full-scale intelligence quotient (FSIQ) score was 86 (range, 59-128). The CSI doses and age at the start of radiation therapy did not influence clinical outcomes, height SDSs, and FSIQ scores.

Conclusions: Our original protocol for patients with embryonal CNS tumors was feasible and yielded favorable clinical outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy / adverse effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / mortality*
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome