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J Clin Oncol. 2002 Aug 15;20(16):3431-7.

Preradiation chemotherapy in primary high-risk brainstem tumors: phase II study CCG-9941 of the Children's Cancer Group.

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Vanderbilt Cancer Center, Nashville, TN, USA.



This Children's Cancer Group group-wide phase II trial evaluated the efficacy and toxicity of two chemotherapy arms administered before hyperfractionated external-beam radiotherapy (HFEBRT).


Thirty-two patients with newly diagnosed brainstem gliomas were randomly assigned to regimen A and 31 to regimen B. Regimen A comprised three courses of carboplatin, etoposide, and vincristine; regimen B comprised cisplatin, etoposide, cyclophosphamide, and vincristine. Both arms included granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. Patients were evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging after induction chemotherapy and HFEBRT at a dose of 72 Gy.


Ten percent +/- 5% of regimen A patients objectively responded to chemotherapy. For combined induction and radiotherapy, 27% +/- 9% of patients improved. The neuroradiographic response rate for regimen B was 19% +/- 8% for chemotherapy and 23% +/- 9% after HFEBRT. Response rates were not statistically significant between regimens after induction or chemotherapy/HFEBRT. Event-free survival was 17% +/- 5% (estimate +/- SE) at 1 year and 6% +/- 3% at 2 years. Survival was significantly longer among patients who responded to chemotherapy (P <.05). Among patients who received regimen A induction, grades 3 and 4 leukopenia were observed in 50% to 65%, with one toxicity-related death. For regimen B, severe leukopenia occurred in 86% to 100%, with febrile neutropenia in 48% to 60% per course.


Neither chemotherapy regimen meaningfully improved response rate, event-free survival, or overall survival relative to previous series of patients with brainstem gliomas who received radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy.

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