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J Neurooncol. 1992 Jul;13(3):277-82.

Proliferative potential and outcome in pediatric astrocytic tumors.

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  • 1Division of Neuro-Oncology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


In 43 pediatric patients (29 male, 14 female) with primary astrocytic tumors of the central nervous system (CNS), the correlation was evaluated between outcome and proliferative potential, measured by the bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) labeling index (LI). Twenty-five patients had low-grade gliomas, 13 had anaplastic gliomas, and 5 had glioblastomas multiforme (GBM). All patients underwent surgery; 37 also had chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both. The median BrdU LIs were less than 1% (range 0-9.3%) in low-grade gliomas, 2.3% (range 0-21.2%) in anaplastic gliomas, and 7.7% (range 0-21.3%) in GBM. Seven of eight patients with BrdU LI greater than 5% have died (median survival 29 weeks). Median survival has not been reached in patients with BrdU LI less than 1% (19/22 alive) or between 1% and 5% (12/13 alive) after median follow-up periods of 165 and 120 weeks, respectively. A high BrdU LI correlated with short survival (p = 0.0001); the association between malignant histology and short survival was weaker (p = 0.019). BrdU LI is therefore a significant predictor of outcome in patients with primary CNS astrocytomas and appears to be a stronger predictor than histology in patients with low-grade and anaplastic gliomas. More patients need to be studied to confirm these preliminary observations.

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