✓ The records of 167 patients with grade 1 or 2 supratentorial pilocytic astrocytomas (41 patients), ordinary astrocytomas (91 patients), or mixed oligoastrocytomas (35 patients) diagnosed between 1960 and 1982 are retrospectively reviewed. The extent of surgical tumor removal was gross total or radical subtotal in 33 patients (20%) and subtotal or biopsy only in the remaining 134 patients (80%). Postoperative radiation therapy was given to 139 (83%) of the 167 patients, with a median dose of 5000 cGy (range 600 to 6500 cGy).
Multivariate analysis revealed that a pilocytic histology was the most significant prognostic variable associated with a good survival. The 5- and 10-year survival rates were, respectively, 85% and 79% for the 41 patients with pilocytic astrocytomas compared to 51% and 23% for the 126 patients with ordinary astrocytomas or mixed oligoastrocytomas. Postoperative irradiation did not appear to be associated with improved survival times in the patients with pilocytic astrocytomas; however, in the 126 patients with ordinary astrocytomas or mixed oligoastrocytomas, those who received “high-dose” radiation (≥ 5300 cGy) had significantly better survival times than those who received “low-dose” radiation (< 5300 cGy) or surgery alone. The 5- and 10-year survival rates were, respectively, 68% and 39% for the 35 patients receiving high-dose radiation, 47% and 21% for the 67 receiving low-dose radiation, and 32% and 11% for the 19 treated with surgery alone.
The survival rate was poor for the 23 patients with ordinary astrocytomas and oligoastrocytomas who underwent gross total or radical subtotal tumor removal (14 of whom were also irradiated): 52% at 5 years and 21% at 10 years, with 19 of 23 patients developing tumor progression and dying 1 to 12 years postoperatively. In contrast, all 10 patients with pilocytic astrocytomas who had gross total or radical subtotal tumor removal alone were long-term survivors, with follow-up periods of about 4 to 25 years.