Role of Radiation Therapy in the Management of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma: A Systematic Review

Adv Radiat Oncol. 2019 Mar 30;4(3):520-531. doi: 10.1016/j.adro.2019.03.009. eCollection Jul-Sep 2019.


Purpose: Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is the most aggressive primary pediatric brain tumor, with <10% of children surviving 2 years. Radiation therapy (RT) remains the mainstay of treatment, but there is a great clinical need for improvements and advancements in treatment strategies. The aim of this systematic review was to identify all available studies in which RT was used to treat patients with DIPG.

Methods and materials: A literature search for studies published up to March 10, 2018 was conducted using the PubMed database. We identified 384 articles using search items "diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma" and 221 articles using search items "diffuse brainstem glioma radiotherapy." Included studies were prospective and retrospective series that reported outcomes of DIPG treatment with RT.

Results: We identified 49 studies (1286 patients) using upfront conventionally fractionated RT, 5 studies (92 patients) using hypofractionated RT, and 8 studies (348 patients) using hyperfractionated RT. The mean median overall survival (OS) was 12.0 months, 10.2 months, and 7.9 months in patients who received conventional, hyperfractionated, and hypofractionated RT regimens, respectively. Patients undergoing radiosensitizing therapy had a mean median OS of 11.5 months, and patients who did not receive concomitant systemic therapy had an OS of 9.4 months. In patients who received salvage RT, the mean median OS from initial diagnosis was 16.3 months.

Conclusions: As one of the largest systematic reviews examining RT for DIPG, this report may serve as a useful tool to help clinicians choose the most appropriate treatment approach, while also providing a platform for future investigations into the utility of RT and systemic therapy.

Publication types

  • Review