Purpose: Children with average-risk medulloblastoma (MB) experience survival rates of ≥ 80% at the expense of adverse consequences of treatment. Efforts to mitigate these effects include deintensification of craniospinal irradiation (CSI) dose and volume.
Methods: ACNS0331 (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00085735) randomly assigned patients age 3-21 years with average-risk MB to receive posterior fossa radiation therapy (PFRT) or involved field radiation therapy (IFRT) following CSI. Young children (3-7 years) were also randomly assigned to receive standard-dose CSI (SDCSI; 23.4 Gy) or low-dose CSI (LDCSI; 18 Gy). Post hoc molecular classification and mutational analysis contextualized outcomes according to known biologic subgroups (Wingless, Sonic Hedgehog, group 3, and group 4) and genetic biomarkers. Neurocognitive changes and ototoxicity were monitored over time.
Results: Five hundred forty-nine patients were enrolled on study, of which 464 were eligible and evaluable to compare PFRT versus IFRT and 226 for SDCSI versus LDCSI. The five-year event-free survival (EFS) was 82.5% (95% CI, 77.2 to 87.8) and 80.5% (95% CI, 75.2 to 85.8) for the IFRT and PFRT regimens, respectively, and 71.4% (95% CI, 62.8 to 80) and 82.9% (95% CI, 75.6 to 90.2) for the LDCSI and SDCSI regimens, respectively. IFRT was not inferior to PFRT (hazard ratio, 0.97; 94% upper CI, 1.32). LDCSI was inferior to SDCSI (hazard ratio, 1.67%; 80% upper CI, 2.10). Improved EFS was observed in patients with Sonic Hedgehog MB who were randomly assigned to the IFRT arm (P = .018). Patients with group 4 MB receiving LDCSI exhibited inferior EFS (P = .047). Children receiving SDCSI exhibited greater late declines in IQ (estimate = 5.87; P = .021).
Conclusion: Reducing the radiation boost volume in average-risk MB is safe and does not compromise survival. Reducing CSI dose in young children with average-risk MB results in inferior outcomes, possibly in a subgroup-dependent manner, but is associated with better neurocognitive outcome. Molecularly informed patient selection warrants further exploration for children with MB to be considered for late-effect sparing approaches.