Initial clinical applications treating pediatric and adolescent patients using MR-guided radiotherapy

Front Oncol. 2022 Nov 7;12:962926. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2022.962926. eCollection 2022.


Purpose: To demonstrate the clinical applications and feasibility of online adaptive magnetic resonance image guided radiotherapy (MRgRT) in the pediatric, adolescent and young adult (AYA) population.

Methods: This is a retrospective case series of patients enrolled onto a prospective study. All pediatric (age < 18) and AYA patients (age< 30), treated on the Elekta Unity MR linear accelerator (MRL) from 2019 to 2021 were enrolled onto a prospective registry. Rationale for MRgRT included improved visualization of and alignment to the primary tumor, re-irradiation in a critical area, ability to use smaller margins, and need for daily adaptive replanning to minimize dose to adjacent critical structures. Step-and-shoot intensity-modulated radiation treatment (IMRT) plans were generated for all Unity patients with a dose grid of 3 mm and a statistical uncertainty of < 1% per plan.

Results: A total of 15 pediatric and AYA patients have been treated with median age of 13 years (range: 6 mos - 27 yrs). Seven patients were <10 yo. The clinical applications of MRgRT included Wilms tumor with unresectable IVC thrombus (n=1), Ewing sarcoma (primary and metastatic, n=3), recurrent diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG, n=2), nasopharyngeal carcinoma (n=1), clival chordoma (n=1), primitive neuroectodermal tumor of the pancreas (n=1), recurrent gluteo-sacral germ cell tumor (n=1), C-spine ependymoma (n=1), and posterior fossa ependymoma (n=1). Two children required general anesthesia. One AYA patient could not complete the MRgRT course due to tumor-related pain exacerbated by longer treatment times. Two AYA patients experienced anxiety related to treatment on the MRL, one of which required daily Ativan. No patient experienced treatment interruptions or unexpected toxicity.

Conclusion: MRgRT was well-tolerated by pediatric and AYA patients. There was no increased use of anesthesia outside of our usual practice. Dosimetric advantages were seen for patients with tumors in critical locations such as adjacent to or involving optic structures, stomach, kidney, bowel, and heart.

Keywords: MR guidance; adolescent; cancer; pediatric; radiotherapy.