Purpose: Conventional radiation therapy (RT) to pediatric brain tumors exposes a large volume of normal brain to unwarranted radiation causing late toxicity. We hypothesized that in well demarcated pediatric tumors lacking microscopic extensions, fractionated stereotactic RT (SRT), without target volume expansions, can reduce high dose normal tissue irradiation without affecting local control. Methods and Materials: Between 2008 and 2017, 52 pediatric patients with brain tumors were treated using the CyberKnife (CK) with SRT in 180 to 200 cGy per fraction. Thirty representative cases were retrospectively planned for intensity modulated RT (IMRT) with 4-mm PTV expansion. We calculated the volume of normal tissue within the high or intermediate dose region adjacent to the target. Plan quality and radiation dose-volume dosimetry parameters were compared between CK and IMRT plans. We also reported overall survival, progression-free survival (PFS), and local control. Results: Tumors included low-grade gliomas (n = 28), craniopharyngiomas (n = 16), and ependymomas (n = 8). The volumes of normal tissue receiving high (≥80% of prescription dose or ≥40 Gy) or intermediate (80% > dose ≥50% of the prescription dose or 40 Gy > dose ≥25 Gy) dose were significantly smaller with CK versus IMRT plans (P < .0001 for all comparisons). With a median follow-up of 3.7 years (range, 0.1-9.0), 3-year local control was 92% for all patients. Eight failures occurred: 1 craniopharyngioma (marginal), 2 ependymomas (both in-field), and 5 low-grade gliomas (2 in-field, 1 marginal, and 2 distant). Conclusions: Fractionated SRT using CK without target volume expansion appears to reduce the volume of irradiated tissue without majorly compromising local control in pediatric demarcated brain tumors. These results are hypothesis generating and should be tested and validated in prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e485-e494
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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