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J Neurooncol. 2006 Jun;78(2):199-205. Epub 2006 Apr 25.

Late sequela after treatment of childhood low-grade gliomas: a retrospective analysis of 69 long-term survivors treated between 1983 and 2003.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the spectrum of late effects in a large cohort of pediatric patients with low-grade gliomas (WHO grade I and II) during an observation period of 20 years. Eighty-seven patients with low-grade gliomas grouped according to tumor location (cerebellum: n=28; cerebral hemispheres: n=21; central midline: n=15; brainstem: n=12; tectum: n=5; other locations: n=6) were evaluated for tumor- and/or treatment-related late effects by analysis of medical and computer records, and personal interviews. Seventy patients underwent neurosurgery, 29 patients received additional radiotherapy and 20 additional chemotherapy. Median follow-up of survivors is 96 months with an overall survival of 79% (cerebellum: 89%; cerebral hemispheres: 95%; central midline: 80%; brainstem: 25%; tectum: 100%; other locations: 66%). Chronic medical problems (mild ataxia to multiple severe neuroendocrine deficits) are observed in 100% of patients with brainstem/central midline tumors and in 40-50% of patients with low-grade gliomas of other locations. Endocrine deficiencies were observed in 15/17 (88%) of long-term survivors who received radiotherapy. In contrast, none of the patients who underwent surgery only had endocrine deficiencies. Seven long-term survivors (10.1%) are severely disabled with permanent need of medical help. Tumor- and treatment-related late effects are common in patients with low-grade gliomas with the most severe occurring in patients with brainstem or central midline tumors. As long-term survival is excellent in patients with low-grade gliomas except for tumors located in the brainstem, future treatment studies should focus on avoiding long-term late effects.

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