Recurrent pediatric infratentorial ependymomas: a systematic review and meta-analysis on outcomes and molecular classification

J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2022 Nov 25;31(2):132-142. doi: 10.3171/2022.10.PEDS22154. Print 2023 Feb 1.


Objective: The aim of this study was to summarize the prognosis of recurrent infratentorial ependymomas based on treatment and molecular characterization.

Methods: Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, the authors searched the PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and Ovid databases for studies on recurrent infratentorial ependymomas in patients younger than 25 years of age. Exclusion criteria included case series of fewer than 5 patients and studies that did not provide time-dependent survival data.

Results: The authors' database search yielded 482 unique articles, of which 18 were included in the final analysis. There were 479 recurrent infratentorial pediatric ependymomas reported; 53.4% were WHO grade II and 46.6% were WHO grade III tumors. The overall mortality for recurrent infratentorial pediatric ependymomas was 49.1% (226/460). The pooled mean survival was 30.2 months after recurrence (95% CI 22.4-38.0 months). Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 243 (59.0%) patients at initial presentation. The mean survival postrecurrence for those who received initial GTR was 42.3 months (95% CI 35.7-47.6 months) versus 26.0 months (95% CI 9.6-44.6 months) for those who received subtotal resection (STR) (p = 0.032). There was no difference in the mean survival between patients who received GTR (49.3 months, 95% CI 32.3-66.3 months) versus those who received STR (41.4 months, 95% CI 11.6-71.2 months) for their recurrent tumor (p = 0.610). In the studies that included molecular classification data, there were 169 (83.3%) posterior fossa group A (PFA) tumors and 34 (16.7%) posterior fossa group B (PFB) tumors, with 28 tumors harboring a 1q gain. PFA tumors demonstrated worse mean postprogression patient survival (24.7 months, 95% CI 15.3-34.0 months) compared with PFB tumors (48.0 months, 95% CI 32.8-63.2 months) (p = 0.0073). The average postrecurrence survival for patients with 1q+ tumors was 14.7 months.

Conclusions: The overall mortality rate for recurrent infratentorial ependymomas was found to be 49.1%, with a pooled mean survival of 30.2 months in the included sample population. More than 80% of recurrent infratentorial ependymomas were of the PFA molecular subtype, and both PFA tumors and those with 1q gain demonstrated worse prognosis after recurrence.

Keywords: ependymoma; extent of resection; infratentorial; molecular; recurrent; tumor.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Child
  • Ependymoma* / genetics
  • Ependymoma* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infratentorial Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Infratentorial Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / genetics
  • Prognosis

Supplementary concepts

  • Familial ependymoma