Purpose: To report the long-term efficacy and toxicity of proton therapy for pediatric ependymoma.
Methods and materials: Between 2000 and 2019, 386 children with nonmetastatic grade 2/3 intracranial ependymoma received proton therapy at 1 of 2 academic institutions. Median age at treatment was 3.8 years (range, 0.7-21.3); 56% were male. Most (72%) tumors were in the posterior fossa and classified as World Health Organization grade 3 (65%). Eighty-five percent had a gross total or near total tumor resection before radiation therapy; 30% received chemotherapy. Median radiation dose was 55.8 Gy relative biologic effectiveness (RBE) (range, 50.4-59.4).
Results: Median follow-up was 5.0 years (range, 0.4-16.7). The 7-year local control, progression-free survival, and overall survival rates were 77.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 71.9%-81.5%), 63.8% (95% CI, 58.0%-68.8%), and 82.2% (95% CI, 77.2%-86.3%), respectively. Subtotal resection was associated with inferior local control (59% vs 80%; P < .005), progression-free survival (48% vs 66%; P < .001), and overall survival (70% vs 84%; P < .05). Male sex was associated with inferior progression-free (60% vs 69%; P < .05) and overall survival (76% vs 89%; P < .05). Posterior fossa tumor site was also associated with inferior progression-free (59% vs 74%; P < .05) and overall survival (79% vs 89%; P < .01). Twenty-one patients (5.4%) required hearing aids; of these, 13 received cisplatin, including the 3 with bilateral hearing loss. Forty-five patients (11.7%) required hormone replacement, typically growth hormone (38/45). The cumulative incidence of grade 2+ brain stem toxicity was 4% and occurred more often in patients who received >54 GyRBE. Two patients (0.5%) died of brain stem necrosis. The second-malignancy rate was 0.8%.
Conclusion: Proton therapy offers disease control commensurate with modern photon therapy without unexpected toxicity. The high rate of long-term survival justifies efforts to reduce radiation exposure in this young population. Independent of radiation modality, this large series confirms extent of resection as the most important modifiable factor for survival.
Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.