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J Clin Oncol. 2019 Mar 20;37(9):731-740. doi: 10.1200/JCO.18.00969. Epub 2019 Feb 7.

Late Morbidity and Mortality Among Medulloblastoma Survivors Diagnosed Across Three Decades: A Report From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

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1 Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.
2 University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
3 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN.
4 Children's National Health System, Washington, DC.
5 Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.
6 Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, MO.
7 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.
8 Duke University, Durham, NC.



Treatment of medulloblastoma has evolved from surgery and radiotherapy to contemporary multimodal regimens. However, the impact on long-term health outcomes remains unknown.


Cumulative incidence of late mortality (5 or more years from diagnosis), subsequent neoplasms (SNs), and chronic health conditions were evaluated in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study among 5-year survivors of medulloblastoma diagnosed between 1970 and 1999. Outcomes were evaluated by treatment exposure, including historical therapy (craniospinal irradiation [CSI] ≥ 30 Gy, no chemotherapy), high risk (CSI ≥ 30 Gy + chemotherapy), standard risk (CSI < 30 Gy + chemotherapy), and by treatment decade (1970s, 1980s, 1990s). Rate ratios (RRs) and 95% CIs estimated long-term outcomes using multivariable piecewise exponential models.


Among 1,311 eligible survivors (median age, 29 years [range, 6 to 60 years]; median time from diagnosis, 21 years [range, 5 to 44 years]), the 15-year cumulative incidence rate of all-cause late mortality was 23.2% (diagnosed 1970s) versus 12.8% (1990s; P = .002), with a recurrence-related mortality rate of 17.7% versus 9.6% ( P = .008). Lower late mortality rates as a result of other health-related causes were not observed. Among 997 survivors who completed a baseline survey, the 15-year cumulative incidence of SNs was higher among survivors with multimodal therapy (standard risk, 9.5%; historical, 2.8%; P = .03). Survivors treated in the 1990s had a higher cumulative incidence of severe, disabling, life-threatening, and fatal chronic health conditions (56.5% in 1990s v 39.9% in 1970s; P < .001) and were more likely to develop multiple conditions (RR, 2.89; 95% CI, 1.31 to 6.38). However, survivors of standard-risk therapy were less likely to use special education services than high-risk therapy survivors (RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.75 to 0.93).


Historical changes in medulloblastoma therapy that improved 5-year survival have increased the risk for SNs and debilitating health conditions for survivors yet reduced the need for special education services.

[Available on 2020-03-20]

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