✓ 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.
Ali K. Choucair, Victor A. Levin, Philip H. Gutin, Richard L. Davis, Pamela Silver, Michael S. B. Edwards and Charles B. Wilson
✓ To determine the percentage of patients who developed multiple central nervous system (CNS) gliomas during postoperative radiation therapy and chemotherapy, the authors reviewed the records of 1047 patients treated between December 2, 1976, and August 16, 1985, who had an original diagnosis of supratentorial glioblastoma multiforme or other anaplastic glioma. The occurrence of multiple lesions was verified by neurodiagnostic studies (computerized tomography or myelography) or by findings at operation or autopsy. Twelve patients (1.1%) who presented with multiple lesions were excluded from this analysis. There were 405 patients with glioblastoma multiforme; their median age was 46.5 years (range 22 to 70 years). Eighteen (5%) of these patients had multiple CNS lesions, five of which were in the spinal cord. The median time from diagnosis to detection of the second lesion in this group was 59.5 weeks (range 10 to 182 weeks). There were 630 patients with anaplastic glioma (which included mixed malignant glioma and highly anaplastic, gemistocytic, moderately anaplastic, and anaplastic astrocytomas); their median age was 30 years (range 2 to 62 years). Fifty-four (8.6%) of these patients had multiple lesions, 10 of which were in the spinal cord; only one case of extraneural metastasis was found. The median time from diagnosis to detection of the second lesion in this group was 101 weeks (range 14 to 459 weeks). These results show that more than 90% of CNS gliomas recur at the site of the original tumor. Considering the high frequency of intellectual dysfunction after whole-brain radiation therapy, the use of focal radiation fields appears to be the most judicious approach to the treatment of patients with gliomas.