Outcomes following proton therapy for Ewing sarcoma of the cranium and skull base

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2020 Feb;67(2):e28080. doi: 10.1002/pbc.28080. Epub 2019 Nov 17.


Purpose: Despite the dosimetric advantages of proton therapy, little data exist on patients who receive proton therapy for Ewing sarcoma of the cranium and skull base. This study reports local disease control and toxicity in such patients.

Materials/methods: We reviewed 25 patients (≤21 years old) with nonmetastatic Ewing sarcoma of the cranium and skull base treated between 2008 and 2018. Treatment toxicity was graded per the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v4.0. The Kaplan-Meier product limit method provided estimates of disease control and survival.

Results: Median patient age was 5.9 years (range, 1-21.7). Tumor subsites included the skull base (48%), non-skull-base calvarial bones (28%), paranasal sinuses (20%), and nasal cavity (4%). All patients underwent multiagent alkylator- and anthracycline-based chemotherapy; 16% underwent gross total resection (GTR) before radiation. Clinical target volume (CTV) 1 received 45 GyRBE and CTV2 received 50.4 GyRBE following GTR or 54-55.8 GyRBE following biopsy or subtotal resection. Median follow-up was 3.7 years (range, 0.26-8.3); no patients were lost. The 4-year local control, disease-free survival, and overall survival rates were 96%, 86%, and 92%, respectively. Two patients experienced in-field recurrences. One patient experienced bilateral conductive hearing loss requiring aids, two patients developed intracranial vasculopathy, and 6 patients required hormone replacement therapy for neuroendocrine deficits. None developed a secondary malignancy.

Conclusion: Proton therapy is associated with a favorable therapeutic ratio in children with large Ewing tumors of the cranium and skull base. Despite its high conformality, we observed excellent local control and no marginal recurrences. Treatment dosimetry predicts limited long-term neurocognitive and neuroendocrine side effects.

Keywords: Ewing sarcoma; outcomes; proton therapy; radiotherapy; skull base; toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Proton Therapy / mortality*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / mortality*
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / pathology
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / radiotherapy
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult