Neuraxis dissemination in pediatric brain tumors. Response to preirradiation chemotherapy

Stewart J. Kellie, Edward H. Kovnar, Larry E. Kun, Marc E. Horowitz, Richard L. Heideman, Edwin C. Douglass, James W. Langston, R. Alex Sanford, Jesse J. Jenkins, Diane L. Fairclough, Lisa Ogle

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25 Scopus citations


Of 29 consecutive children treated for malignant primary tumors of the central nervous system (CNS) at this institution, postoperative examination showed radiographic or cytologic evidence of neuraxis dissemination in 10 (34%). Given the historically poor results in disseminated CNS tumors treated with surgery and radiation therapy alone, these ten patients were treated prospectively with an investigational Phase II protocol consisting of preirradiation cisplatin (90 mg/m2 on day 1) and etoposide (150 mg/m2 on days 3 and 4). The diagnoses included medulloblastoma (n = 4), malignant glioma (n = 3), cerebral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (n = 1), pineoblastoma (n = 1), and mixed glioma of the brainstem (n = 1). Postoperative neuraxis scanning with computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or spinal myelography showed measurable intracranial or spinal me‐tastases in all children. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytologic examination was positive for tumor cells in five. The best responses, based on serial imaging of neuraxis metastases, included two complete responses, four partial responses, and three stable disease states. One patient had progressive disease at the primary site despite stable disease in the spine; progressive neuraxis disease was documented in only one patient during chemotherapy. Clearance of tumor cells from the CSF was documented in three patients. The adverse effects of chemotherapy, consisting of transient myelosuppression and mild ototoxicity, were minimal. Reversible neurologic deterioration occurred in two patients; one patient became acutely quadriplegic after a prolonged convulsive seizure without radiographic evidence of tumor progression. Cancer 1992; 69:1061–1066.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1061-1066
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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