Primarily metastatic juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (JPA) is rare, likely representing 2%–3% of all cases of JPA. Due to the rarity of primarily metastatic JPA, there is currently no standard treatment paradigm and the long-term outcomes are not fully known. The goal of this case series was to add to the current understanding of this disease process.
The authors searched a comprehensive database of pediatric patients with brain and spinal cord tumors treated at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital from 1997 to 2016 and identified 5 patients with primarily metastatic JPA. A retrospective chart review was performed and details of the patients’ treatment and clinical course were recorded for further analysis.
For the 5 patients with primarily metastatic JPA, the mean follow-up period was 12.3 years. All patients in our series had biopsies or subtotal resections and upfront treatment. Three patients were treated with chemotherapy alone, one was treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and one was treated with radiotherapy alone. Four patients had stable disease after initial treatment, and one patient had multiple episodes of progressive disease but underwent successful salvage therapy and has had stable disease for 19 years. One patient died of an intracerebral hemorrhage 10 years following initial radiation treatment believed to be secondary to radiation vasculopathy.
Evaluation of the entire neuraxis should be performed in all instances of initial JPA diagnosis to properly assess for primarily metastatic disease. Many patients with primarily metastatic JPA will have stable disease after upfront treatment, although the higher rate of stable disease found in this series relative to other reports is likely secondary to the small sample size.