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Pediatr Neurosurg. 2006;42(2):81-8.

Stereotactic radiation therapy with chemotherapy in the management of recurrent medulloblastomas.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, Saga University, Saga, and Department of Neurosurgery, Komaki City Hospital, Japan.


Medulloblastomas are highly lethal tumors when they recur. Very few patients survive with conventional treatment. This report documents the preliminary study results of a treatment for recurrent medulloblastomas consisting of stereotactic radiation therapy (SRT) with chemotherapy. Four patients had local recurrence without apparent metastases and 8 patients had metastases with or without local recurrence. Twelve patients with 18 lesions underwent SRT as a single session (n=8) or in a hypofractionated manner (n=10) using a gamma knife or modified linear accelerator. All patients then received systemic chemotherapy. Five patients were treated with one to two sequential courses of high-dose chemotherapy with peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. The reduction in tumor size after SRT was often remarkable. Fourteen of 18 lesions treated disappeared 1-6 months after SRT. Two of 4 patients who had local recurrences without apparent metastasis at the time of SRT are alive without evidence of disease 70 and 72 months after SRT, respectively. In contrast, all 8 patients with metastasis had new lesions either in the spinal canal or on the surface of the brain outside the target area of SRT. Median progression-free survival and overall survival from the time of SRT were 9 and 19 months, respectively. The Kaplan-Meier estimates of PFS and overall survival at 3 years were 17 and 25%, respectively. One patient had brainstem edema after SRT causing bulbar palsy and quadriparesis. One patient died of toxicity of chemotherapy. Our experience suggests that local recurrence can be controlled by SRT with chemotherapy but survival of patients with metastases can not be improved effectively by SRT in conjunction with aggressive chemotherapy.

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