Anaplastic ependymoma: Treatment of pediatric patients with or without craniospinal radiation therapy

Thomas E. Merchant, Toni Haida, Ming Hsien Wang, Jonathan L. Finlay, Steven A. Leibel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


The authors conducted a retrospective review of the clinical and treatment characteristics and outcomes in 28 pediatric patients with anaplastic ependymoma treated with radiation therapy since the advent of computerized tomography (CT) (1978-1994). Twelve patients received craniospinal irradiation followed by a boost to the primary site, two received whole-brain radiation therapy followed by a boost to the primary site, and the remaining 14 were treated with focal radiation therapy. The mean dose to the primary site was 5486 cGy. With a median follow-up period of 86 months for the 14 surviving patients (range 31-201 months), the median disease-free survival, measured from the date of diagnosis to the time of recurrence after radiation therapy, was 40 months. The median disease free survival measured from the start of radiation therapy was 32 months. The median overall survival rate has not been reached and the actuarial estimates of overall survival rates at 5 and 10 years were 56% and 38%, respectively. According to univariate analysis, the disease-free survival rate was significantly improved (p <0.01) in patients who underwent a gross-total resection at diagnosis. Overall survival rates were negatively influenced by treatment with craniospinal and whole-brain irradiation. As calculated by multivariate analysis, increasing dosage to the primary site (p <0.05), infratentorial location (p <0.01), and gross-total resections (p <0.02) resulted in the longest disease-free survival times. All 19 patients in whom treatment failed after radiation therapy suffered a recurrence at the primary site. In addition, one of these patients experienced subarachnoid dissemination. Radiation treatment recommendations for patients with ependymoma have been based on the tumor's location, perceived risk for dissemination, and malignant propensity. The significance of anaplastic histological classification is controversial. Differences in the disease- free and overall survival rates have been demonstrated between ependymomas and anaplastic ependymomas treated in the pre-CT era. The results of this study show that there is no benefit from craniospinal irradiation in this group of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-949
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • anaplastic ependymoma
  • brain neoplasm
  • children
  • pediatric tumor
  • radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • General Neuroscience


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