Pediatric low-grade and ependymal spinal cord tumors

Thomas E. Merchant, Erin N. Kiehna, Stephen J. Thompson, Richard L. Heideman, Robert A. Sanford, Larry E. Kun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Our institutional experience with pediatric spinal cord tumors includes 25 patients with the diagnosis of ependymoma (EP; n = 4), myxopapillary ependymoma (MPEP; n = 4), juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (JPA; n = 5), nonpilocytic astrocytoma (WHO grade I or II, n = 6), and other nonastrocytic spinal cord tumors (n = 6) treated during the period 1974-1999. Nineteen patients required radiation therapy (RT). The median progression-free survival following RT was 65 months (range 1-206 months). Seven patients recurred at an average of 22 months. The EP patients recurred at an average of 8.5 months, while the patients with low-grade astrocytoma recurred at an average of 42 months. Including the 6 nonsurviving patients, the median overall survival was 96 months. Two EP patients died with a progression-free survival of 9 months. One patient with MPEP died of other causes at 7 months. The treatment of pediatric spinal cord tumors should be individualized based on the histologic type. Radical surgery is indicated for nonmyxopapillary EP and low-grade astrocytic tumors. The need for adjuvan-therapy most often depends on the extent of resection as well as the tumor type. Patients with disseminated EP MPEP, JPA and nonpilocytic astrocytoma may achieve long-term progression-free survival with craniospinal irradiation. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-36
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000


  • Astrocytoma
  • Central nervous system neoplasms
  • Craniospinal irradiation
  • Ependymoma
  • Radiotherapy
  • Spinal cord tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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