While some low-grade pediatric gliomas may be cured with resection, many patients harbor tumors that cannot be completely resected safely, are difficult to access via an open surgical approach, or recur. Gamma Knife surgery may be beneficial in the treatment of these tumors.
The authors reviewed a consecutive series of 24 pediatric patients treated at the authors' institution between 1989 and 2011. All patients harbored tumors that were either surgically inaccessible or had evidence of residual or recurrent growth after resection. Progression-free survival was evaluated and correlated with clinical variables. Additional outcomes evaluated were clinical outcome, imaging response, and overall survival.
Between 1989 and 2011, 13 male and 11 female patients (median age 11 years, range 4–18 years) with gliomas were treated. Tumor pathology was pilocytic astrocytoma (WHO Grade I) in 15 patients (63%), WHO Grade II in 4 (17%), and WHO Grade III in 1 (4%). The tumor pathology was not confirmed in 4 patients (17%). The mean tumor volume at the time of treatment was 2.4 cm3. Lesions were treated with a median maximum dose of 36 Gy, median of 3 isocenters, and median marginal dose of 15 Gy.
The median duration of imaging follow-up was 74 months, and the median duration of clinical follow-up was 144 months. The tumors responded with a median decrease in volume of 71%. At last follow up, a decrease in tumor size of at least 50% was demonstrated in 18 patients (75%) and complete tumor resolution was achieved in 5 (21%). Progression-free survival at last follow-up was achieved in 20 patients (83%). Progression was documented in 4 patients (17%), with 3 patients requiring repeat resection and 1 patient dying. The initial tumor volume was significantly greater in patients with disease progression (mean volume 4.25 vs 2.0 cm3, p < 0.001). Age, tumor pathology, tumor location, previous radiation, Karnofsky Performance Scale score, symptom duration, and target dosage did not differ significantly between the 2 groups.
Gamma Knife surgery can provide good clinical control of residual or recurrent gliomas in pediatric patients. Worse outcomes in the present series were associated with larger tumor volumes at the time of treatment.
Abbreviations used in this paper:GKS = Gamma Knife surgery; KPS = Karnofsky Performance Scale.
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