Survival and late effects in medulloblastoma patients treated with craniospinal irradiation under three years old.
Kiltie AE., Lashford LS., Gattamaneni HR.
Conventional treatment of medulloblastoma has involved surgery to the primary tumour and radiotherapy to the primary site and craniospinal axis. However CNS irradiation in a young child may result in significant side effects. Thus new treatment strategies have emerged which include chemotherapy, given in order to delay radiotherapy, to enable radiation dose reduction to the primary site and craniospinal axis, or even to eliminate radiotherapy completely. Such treatments have not yet been adequately evaluated in terms of survival and late effects. We report a retrospective study of 37 patients under the age of 36 months treated with postoperative craniospinal irradiation, in which the radiation dose to the neuroaxis was below conventional dosage. The overall actuarial 10-year survival rate was 44% and the actuarial 10-year relapse tree survival rate was 54%. Both radiotherapy and chemotherapy contributed to morbidity and mortality. Tour of 16 patients who survived longer than 10 years had no hard neurological signs; all but one patient have required extra support at school. Of nine patients available for work, two have obtained employment but only one has maintained this. No young adults have married. Despite lower doses of radiation, all but 1 survivor has significant spine shortening, and all who reached final height were short. Further work is needed to complete the profile of late effects in this group, which should include the survivors own perceptions of quality of life. It is hoped that multimodality treatment and supportive care can sustain acceptable survival rates but reduce the burden of late effects.