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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1998 Dec 1;42(5):953-8.

The results of radiotherapy for ependymomas: the Mayo Clinic experience.

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Mayo Clinic Arizona, Department of Radiation Oncology, Scottsdale 85259, USA.



This analysis was performed to examine the outcome of patients with histologically confirmed ependymomas of the brain or spinal cord who received postoperative radiotherapy.


Eighty patients with histologically confirmed ependymomas were evaluated retrospectively. All were treated with various combinations of surgery, radiotherapy (RT), and chemotherapy. Follow-up ranged from 5 to 30 years (median 10.4 years).


The 5- and 10-year survival rates for the entire study group were 79% and 73%, respectively. Patients with low-grade (1 and 2 of 4) tumors had a 5-year survival rate of 87% as compared to 27% for those with high-grade (3 and 4 of 4) tumors (p < 0.0001). Patients with tumors of the spine had a 5-year survival rate of 97% as compared to 68% for those with infratentorial tumors, and 62% for those with supratentorial tumors (p = 0.03). Patients with myxopapillary ependymomas of the spine had a 5-year survival rate of 100% as compared with 76% for patients with other histological subtypes of ependymoma (p = 0.02). Multivariate analysis revealed that the survival rate was independently associated with tumor grade (p = 0.0007) and histological subtype (p = 0.02). Twenty-eight patients (35%) experienced local failure and 10 patients (13%) developed leptomeningeal seeding. The 5-year leptomeningeal failure rate was 10% in patients with low-grade tumors as compared to 41% for patients with high grade tumors (p = 0.01).


Patients with low-grade tumors, especially those with myxopapillary subtypes, have high 5-year survival rates when treated with post-operative radiotherapy. High grade ependymomas are associated with a much poorer outcome. New forms of therapy are required to improve the outcome of patients with high-grade ependymomas.

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