✓ Fifty-three patients (19 adults and 34 children) harboring brain-stem glioma were treated with hyperfractionated radiation therapy (100 cGy twice a day, 5 days/wk, to a total dose of 7200 cGy). For the entire group, the median time to tumor progression (TTP) was 59 weeks (adults 66 weeks, children 44 weeks) and the median survival time was 74 weeks (adults 92 weeks, children 64 weeks). Statistically significant prognostic factors associated with a decrease in TTP and median survival times (adults < children) were: patient's age, a clinical history of less than 2 months, widespread brain-stem dysfunction, and a diffuse tumor as seen on magnetic resonance imaging. A finding of glioblastoma multiforme at histological analysis was associated with a statistical trend toward poorer survival, but in general tumor histology was not predictive of outcome. No evidence of an increase in acute or delayed radiation toxicity was seen with this fractionation schedule and total dose. This study suggests that hyperfractionation prolongs the TTP and survival time for many patients with brain-stem glioma. However, there remains a group of patients who are only moderately helped by this technique and for whom more aggressive treatment is warranted.
Michael S. B. Edwards, William M. Wara, Raul C. Urtasun, Michael Prados, Victor A. Levin, Dorcas Fulton, Charles B. Wilson, John Hannigan and Pamela Silver
Victor A. Levin, Luis A. Rodriguez, Michael S. B. Edwards, William Wara, Hsiu-Chih Liu, Dorcas Fulton, Richard L. Davis, Charles B. Wilson and Pamela Silver
✓ Forty-seven patients with medulloblastoma were treated postoperatively with procarbazine, followed by craniospinal radiation therapy in combination with hydroxyurea. The radiation dose to the posterior fossa was 55 Gy; the spinal cord received 25 Gy and the whole brain 25 to 35 Gy (mean 33 Gy).
Seventeen tumors recurred. Only one initial recurrence was in the spinal subarachnoid space; 10 (59%) were in the posterior fossa, and four (24%) were supratentorial. The estimated 5-year disease-free survival probability was 55%; the 5-year overall survival rate was 66%. Myelotoxicity occurred in 38% of patients, but in only one case was it severe enough to warrant reducing the total dose of radiation. It was concluded that good-risk medulloblastoma patients may be treated with radiation dosages as low as 25 Gy to the spinal axis and to the whole brain without increasing the risk of recurrence outside the posterior fossa. Chemotherapy with procarbazine followed by radiation therapy and hydroxyurea during radiation therapy was well tolerated and may play a role in reducing radiation dosages outside the posterior fossa.
Victor A. Levin, Michael S. B. Edwards, Philip H. Gutin, Pamela Vestnys, Dorcas Fulton, Margaret Seager and Charles B. Wilson
✓ The authors have conducted a Phase II trial to evaluate orally administered dibromodulcitol in the treatment of 40 evaluable patients with recurrent medulloblastoma, ependymoma, and malignant astrocytoma. Ten of 20 patients harboring medulloblastoma responded to therapy with a median time to tumor progression (MTP) of 40 weeks, and four of 20 patients had no sign of progression of disease 4 years after treatment was begun. The MTP for all 12 patients with ependymoma was 30 weeks. Nine of these 12 patients had stabilization of their disease with an MTP of 67 weeks; three of these 12 patients had no signs of progression for 1 to 3 years after treatment was begun. Of six patients harboring supratentorial gliomas, none responded to dibromodulcitol. Two patients, one with a primitive neuroectodermal tumor and the other with a metastatic carcinoma of the breast, had stabilization of disease for more than 4 and 2 years, respectively.