Previous studies of systemic and intralesional administration of nonpegylated interferon have shown efficacy against craniopharyngioma. Pegylaion of interferon-α-2b (PI) prolongs the half-life, allowing sustained exposure of the drug over time, and enhances efficacy. The authors report the results of the use of PI in 5 children with recurrent craniopharyngiomas.
Five children, ranging in age from 9 to 15 years, with recurrent craniopharyngiomas were treated for up to 2 years with subcutaneous injections of PI at a dose of 1–3 μg/kg/week. Tumor response was assessed using MRI.
All patients had stable disease or better in response to PI. One patient experienced a recurrence after gross-total resection (GTR). She initially showed an increase in the predominantly cystic tumor after 3 months of treatment, followed by a complete response. She required no further intervention and remains without evidence of disease 10 years after starting treatment. Another patient experienced recurrence 3.3 years after subtotal resection (STR) and radiation therapy. He had complete disappearance of the predominantly cystic component after 4 months of treatment, and a small residual calcified mass remains 5 years later. The third patient experienced recurrence after 3 GTRs. He had a complete response after 7 months of treatment and remains without evidence of disease 19 months after starting treatment. The fourth patient experienced recurrence after 2 STRs. He had a 30% decrease in tumor size after 4 months of treatment, which was maintained for 12 months at which point the cyst began to increase in size. The final patient experienced recurrence after GTR and has stable disease 6 months after starting treatment with PI.
The use of PI in children with recurrent craniopharyngiomas can result in significant and durable responses and potentially delay or avoid the need for radiation therapy.