Purpose: Dosimetric studies show that proton therapy can reduce the low/intermediate radiation dose to uninvolved tissue in children with low-grade glioma (LGG). For this reason, LGG is the fourth most common pediatric tumor treated with proton therapy, yet clinical outcome data on efficacy and toxicity are limited.
Methods and materials: We reviewed the medical records of 174 children (≤21 years old) with nonmetastatic LGG enrolled on a prospective protocol and treated with proton therapy between 2007 and 2017. We assessed clinical outcomes and toxicity and analyzed patient, tumor, and treatment-related variables.
Results: The median age was 10.2 years (range, 2-21). Fifty-eight percent of tumors were World Health Organization grade 1 and 30% were grade 2; 12% were diagnosed on imaging characteristics alone. The most common histology was pilocytic astrocytoma (47%). The most common tumor subsites were diencephalon/optic pathway (52%), caudal brainstem (16%), and cerebellum (13%). Forty-two percent received chemotherapy before radiation therapy. The median follow-up was 4.4 years. The 5-year actuarial rates of local control, progression-free survival, and overall survival were 85% (95% confidence interval [CI], 78%-90%), 84% (95% CI, 77%-89%), and 92% (95% CI, 85%-95%), respectively. On univariate analysis, brainstem/spinal cord tumor location (62% vs 90% elsewhere) and dose <54 GyRBE (67% vs 91% for 54 GyRBE) were associated with inferior local control (P < .01 for both). Twenty-two patients (12.6%) experienced acute nausea or vomiting requiring ondansetron; 2 patients (1.1%) required corticosteroids. Serious toxicities (4% of patients) included brainstem necrosis requiring corticosteroids (n = 2), symptomatic vasculopathy (n = 2), radiation retinopathy (n = 1), epilepsy (n = 1), and death from radiation-induced high-grade glioma (n = 1). Thirty-nine patients (22%) developed new-onset central hormone deficiency. Pseudoprogression was observed in 32.1%.
Conclusions: Compared with modern photon series, proton therapy reduces the radiation dose to developing brain tissue, diminishing acute toxicities without compromising disease control.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.