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Neuro Oncol. 2006 Apr;8(2):166-74. Epub 2006 Feb 22.

The role of up-front radiation therapy for incompletely resected pediatric WHO grade II low-grade gliomas.

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  • 1Brain Tumor Research Center and Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of early radiation therapy and extent of surgical resection on progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in children with WHO grade II low-grade gliomas (LGGs). We conducted a historical cohort study of 90 patients, ages 21 or younger, diagnosed with WHO grade II LGGs between 1970 and 1995. Median follow-up for surviving patients was 9.4 years (range, 0.5-22.6 years). Tests for variables correlating with OS and PFS were conducted by using log-rank tests and Cox proportional hazards models. Eleven patients underwent gross total resections (GTRs), 43 had subtotal resections, and 34 underwent biopsy only at diagnosis. Two patients underwent biopsy at time of recurrence. Of the 90 patients, 52 received radiation as part of their initial therapy following diagnosis (early-RT group). The overall five-year PFS and OS rates +/- SE were 56% +/- 5% and 90% +/- 3%, respectively. Ten-year PFS and OS rates were 42% +/- 6% and 81% +/- 5%, respectively. For patients older than three years and without GTRs, administration of early radiation did not appear to influence PFS or OS (P = 0.98 and P = 0.40, respectively; log-rank test). This was confirmed by multivariate analyses (P = 0.95 and P = 0.33 for PFS and OS, respectively). Of the 11 patients with GTRs, disease progressed in only two, and all were alive with no evidence of disease at last follow-up. Patients who underwent GTRs had significantly longer PFS (P = 0.02), but did not have significantly improved OS. Excellent long-term survival rates were achieved for children with WHO grade II LGGs. We were unable to demonstrate a benefit for administering radiation as part of initial treatment. An outcome benefit was seen with greater extent of resection.

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