A phase II study of bevacizumab (BVZ) plus irinotecan (CPT-11) was conducted in cases of pediatric recurrent ependymoma (EPN) to estimate sustained objective response rate and progression-free survival (PFS). Eligible patients received 2 doses of single-agent BVZ intravenously (10 mg/kg) 2 weeks apart and then BVZ + CPT-11 every 2 weeks until progressive disease, unacceptable toxicity, or a maximum of 2 years of therapy. Correlative studies included diffusion-weighted and T1 dynamic contrast enhanced permeability imaging and tumor immunohistochemistry for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)–A and –B, hypoxia inducible factor–2α, VEGF receptor (R)–2, and carbonic anhydrase (CA)–9. Thirteen evaluable patients received a median of 3 courses (range, 2–12) of BVZ + CPT-11. No sustained response was observed in any patient. Median time to progression in 10 patients was 2.2 months (range, 1.9–6.3). Two patients had stable disease for 10 months and 12 months, respectively. Six-month PFS was 25.7% (SE = 11.1%). Grades I–III toxicities related to BVZ treatment included fatigue in 4 patients, systemic hypertension in 2, epistaxis in 1, headache in 1, and avascular necrosis of bone in 1. Although there was a decrease in the mean diffusion ratio following 2 doses of BVZ, it did not correlate with PFS. BVZ + CPT-11 was well tolerated but had minimal efficacy in cases of recurrent EPN.
bevacizumab; CPT-11; efficacy; ependymoma; recurrent
Psychological or neurocognitive impairment is often seen in medulloblastoma survivors after craniospinal radiation; however, significant variability in outcomes exists. This study investigated the role of antioxidant enzyme polymorphisms in moderating this outcome and hypothesized that patients who had polymorphisms associated with lower antioxidant enzyme function would have a higher occurrence of impairment. From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) cohort, 109 medulloblastoma survivors and 143 siblings were identified who completed the CCSS Neurocognitive Questionnaire (NCQ) and the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18) and who provided buccal DNA samples. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) allelic discrimination was used for SOD2 (rs4880), GPX1 (rs1050450), and GSTP1 (rs1695 and rs1138272) genotyping and PCR for GSTM1 and GSTT1 gene deletions. Outcomes on NCQ and BSI-18 subscale scores were examined in association with genotypes and clinical factors, including age at diagnosis, sex, and radiation dose, using univariate and multivariate analysis of variance. Patients <7 years of age at diagnosis displayed more problems with task efficiency (P < .001) and fewer problems with somatic complaints (P = .004) than did patients ≥7 years of age. Female patients reported more organization problems than did male patients (P = .02). Patients with homozygous GSTM1 gene deletion reported higher anxiety (mean null genotype = 47.3 ± 9.2, non-null = 43.9 ± 7.8; P = .04), more depression (null = 51.0 ± 9.8, non-null = 47.0 ± 9.4; P = .03), and more global distress (null = 50.2 ± 9.7, non-null = 45.2 ± 9.9; P = .01). All associations for the GSTM1 polymorphism remained statistically significant in a multivariate model controlling for age, sex, and radiation dose. Homozygous GSTM1 gene deletion was consistently associated with greater psychological distress in medulloblastoma survivors across multiple domains, suggesting that this genotype may predispose patients for increased emotional late effects.
Childhood Cancer Survivor Study; glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms; medulloblastoma; neuropsychological impairment; radiation therapy
Surgery is curative therapy for pediatric low-grade gliomas (LGGs) in areas of the brain amenable to complete resection. However, LGGs located in areas where complete resection is not possible can threaten both function and life. The purpose of this study was to compare two chemotherapy regimens for LGGs in children younger than age 10 years for whom radiotherapy was felt by the practitioner to pose a high risk of neurodevelopmental injury.
Patients and Methods
Previously untreated children younger than age 10 years with progressive or residual LGGs were eligible. Children were randomly assigned to receive carboplatin and vincristine (CV) or thioguanine, procarbazine, lomustine, and vincristine (TPCV). Children with neurofibromatosis are reported separately.
Of 274 randomly assigned patients who met eligibility requirements, 137 received CV and 137 received TPCV. The 5-year event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) rates for all eligible patients were 45% ± 3.2% and 86% ± 2.2%, respectively. The 5-year EFS rates were 39% ± 4% for CV and 52% ± 5% for TPCV (stratified log-rank test P = .10; cure model analysis P = .007). On multivariate analysis, factors independently predictive of worse EFS and OS were younger age and tumor size greater than 3 cm2. Tumor location in the thalamus was also associated with poor OS.
The difference in EFS between the regimens did not reach significance on the basis of the stratified log-rank test. The 5-year EFS was higher for TPCV on the basis of the cure model analysis. Differences in toxicity may influence physician choice of regimens.
Central nervous system tumors are the most common solid tumors in children. Many histological subtypes and biological variants exist. The 2007 Neurobiology of Disease in Children Symposium, held in conjunction with the 36th annual meeting of the Child Neurology Society, aimed to define current knowledge in the field and to develop specific aims for future clinical, translational, and fundamental science. Because of advances in structural and metabolic imaging, surgical technique, and combination therapies, the life expectancy of children with some of the most common tumors, such as cerebellar astrocytomas and medulloblastomas, has improved. Other common tumor types, including diffuse pontine gliomas and malignant embryonal tumors, still have a dismal prognosis. As novel therapies are identified for pediatric central nervous system tumors, long-term survival may be associated with considerable disability. A cooperative effort is crucial to early diagnosis and to translating basic research findings into safe, effective new treatments.
The management of childhood brain tumors, which consist of many different histological subtypes, continues to be a challenge. Outcome, measured not only by survival rates but also by the effects of disease and therapy on quality of life, has improved over the past two decades for some tumor types, most notably medulloblastomas. For others, however, there has been little progress, and quality of life for long-term survivors remains suboptimal. Because of advances in our understanding of the biology underlying childhood brain tumors, treatments may change dramatically in the years ahead. Accordingly, survival rates may improve and long-term sequelae lessen.
Optic pathway gliomas (OPGs) occur in 15%–20% of children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1); up to half become symptomatic. There is little information regarding ophthalmologic outcomes after chemotherapy. A retrospective multicenter study was undertaken to evaluate visual outcomes following chemotherapy for NF1-associated OPG, to identify risks for visual loss, and to ascertain indications for treatment. Subjects included children undergoing initial treatment for OPGs with chemotherapy between January 1997 and December 2007. Of 115 subjects, visual acuity (VA) decline and tumor progression were the primary reasons to initiate treatment, although there were significant differences in the pattern of indications cited among the institutions. Eighty-eight subjects and 168 eyes were evaluable for VA outcome. At completion of chemotherapy, VA improved (32% of subjects), remained stable (40%), or declined (28%). Tumor location was the most consistent prognostic factor for poor VA outcome. There was poor correlation between radiographic and VA outcomes. Although visual outcomes for NF1-associated OPG are not optimal, approximately one-third of children regain some vision with treatment. Since radiographic outcomes do not predict visual outcomes, their use as the primary measure of treatment success is in question. The lack of consensus regarding the indications for treatment underlines the need for better standardization of care. Future clinical trials for OPG require standardized visual assessment methods and clear definitions of visual outcomes.
neurofibromatosis; optic glioma; outcomes; visual acuity
Pediatric brain tumors are often difficult to cure and involve significant morbidity when treated with traditional treatment modalities, including neurosurgery, conventional chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. During the past two decades, a clearer understanding of tumorigenesis, molecular growth pathways, and immune mechanisms in the pathogenesis of cancer has opened up promising avenues for therapy. Pediatric clinical trials with novel biologic agents are underway to treat various pediatric brain tumors, including high and low grade gliomas and embryonal tumors. As the therapeutic potential of these agents undergoes evaluation, their toxicity profiles are also becoming better understood. These agents have potentially better central nervous system penetration and lower toxicity profiles compared with conventional chemotherapy. In infants and younger children, biologic agents may prove to be of equal or greater efficacy compared with traditional chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and may reduce the deleterious side effects of traditional therapeutics on the developing brain. Molecular pathways implicated in pediatric brain tumors, agents that target these pathways, and current clinical trials are reviewed. Associated neurologic toxicities will be discussed subsequently. Considerable work is needed to establish the efficacy of these agents alone and in combination, but pediatric neurologists should be aware of these agents and their rationale.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a leading cause of brain tumor–related death in children. DIPG is not surgically resectable, resulting in a paucity of tissue available for molecular studies. As such, tumor biology is poorly understood, and, currently, there are no effective treatments. In the absence of frozen tumor specimens, body fluids—such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), serum, and urine—can serve as more readily accessible vehicles for detecting tumor-secreted proteins. We analyzed a total of 76 specimens, including CSF, serum, urine, and normal and tumor brainstem tissue. Protein profiling of CSF from patients with DIPG was generated by mass spectrometry using an LTQ-Orbitrap-XL and database search using the Sequest algorithm. Quantitative and statistical analyses were performed with ProteoIQ and Partek Genomics Suite. A total of 528 unique proteins were identified, 71% of which are known secreted proteins. CSF proteomic analysis revealed selective upregulation of Cyclophillin A (CypA) and dimethylarginase 1 (DDAH1) in DIPG (n = 10), compared with controls (n = 4). Protein expression was further validated with Western blot analysis and immunohistochemical assays using CSF, brain tissue, serum, and urine from DIPG and control specimens. Immunohistochemical staining showed selective upregulation of secreted but not cytosolic CypA and DDAH1 in patients with DIPG. In this study, we present the first comprehensive protein profile of CSF specimens from patients with DIPG to demonstrate selective expression of tumor proteins potentially involved in brainstem gliomagenesis. Detection of secreted CypA and DDAH1 in serum and urine has potential clinical application, with implications for assessing treatment response and detecting tumor recurrence in patients with DIPG.
brainstem glioma; CSF; CypA; DDAH1; DIPG
In the Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) mouse model, lovastatin, used clinically for hypercholesterolemia, improves cognitive dysfunction. While such impairment has been studied in NF1, the neural substrates remain unclear. The aim of this imaging add-on to a phase-1 open-label trial was to examine the effect of lovastatin on Default Network (DN) resting state functional connectivity (RSFC). Seven children with NF1 (aged 11.9±2.2; 1 female) were treated with lovastatin once daily for 12 weeks. A 7-minute 3-Tesla echo-planar-imaging scan was collected one day before beginning treatment (off-drug) and the last day of treatment (on-drug) while performing a Flanker task. After regressing-out task-associated variance, we used the residual time series as “continuous resting-state data” for RSFC analyses using 11 DN regions of interest. For qualitative comparisons, we included a group of 19 typically developing children (TDC) collected elsewhere. In the on-drug condition, lovastatin increased long-range positive RSFC within DN core regions (i.e., anterior medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex, PCC). In addition, lovastatin produced less diffuse local RSFC in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and PCC. The pattern of RSFC observed in the NF1 participants when on-drug closely resembled the RSFC patterns exhibited by the TDC. Lovastatin administration in this open trial regulated anterior-posterior long-range and local RSFC within the DN. These preliminary results are consistent with a role for lovastatin in normalization of developmental processes and with apparent benefits in a mouse NF1 model.
Neurofibromatosis type 1; lovastatin; resting-state fMRI; Default Network; children
Biologically targeted agents offer the promise of delivering specific anticancer effects while limiting damage to healthy tissue, including the central and peripheral nervous systems. During the past 5-10 years, these agents were examined in preclinical and adult clinical trials, and are used with increasing frequency in children with cancer. This review evaluates current knowledge about neurotoxicity from biologically targeted anticancer agents, particularly those in pediatric clinical trials. For each drug, neurotoxicity data are reviewed in adult (particularly studies of brain tumors) and pediatric studies when available. Overall, these agents are well tolerated, with few serious neurotoxic effects. Data from younger patients are limited, and more neurotoxicity may occur in the pediatric population because these agents target pathways that control not only tumorigenesis but also neural maturation. Further investigation is needed into long-term neurologic effects, particularly in children.
To estimate the sustained (≥8 weeks) objective response rate in pediatric patients with recurrent or progressive high-grade gliomas (HGG, Stratum A) or brainstem gliomas (BSG, Stratum B) treated with the combination of O6-benzylguanine (O6BG) and temozolomide® (TMZ).
Patients and Methods
Patients received O6BG 120 mg/m2/d IV followed by TMZ 75 mg/m2/d orally daily for 5 consecutive days of each 28-day course. The target objective response rate to consider the combination active was 17%. A two-stage design was employed.
Forty-three patients were enrolled; 41 were evaluable for response, including 25 patients with HGG and 16 patients with BSG. The combination of O6BG and TMZ was tolerable, and the primary toxicities were myelosuppression and gastrointestinal symptoms. One sustained (≥8 weeks) partial response was observed in the HGG cohort; no sustained objective responses were observed in the BSG cohort. Long-term (≥6 courses) stable disease (SD) was observed in 4 patients in Stratum A and 1 patient in Stratum B. Of the 5 patients with objective response or long-term SD, 3 underwent central review with 2 reclassified as low-grade gliomas.
The combination of O6BG and TMZ did not achieve the target response rate for activity in pediatric patients with recurrent or progressive HGG and BSG.
glioma; pediatric; resistance; alkylating agent; brainstem glioma; AGT; MGMT
To estimate the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), describe dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), and characterize pharmacokinetic properties of MK-0752, a gamma secretase inhibitor, in children with refractory or recurrent CNS malignancies.
Patients and Methods
MK-0752 was administered once daily for 3 consecutive days of every 7 days at escalating dosages starting at 200 mg/m2. The modified continual reassessment method was used to estimate the MTD. A course was 28 days in duration. Pharmacokinetic analysis was performed during the first course. Expression of NOTCH and hairy enhancer of split (HES) proteins was assessed in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) before and following treatment with MK-0752.
Twenty-three eligible patients were enrolled: 10 males (median age, 8.1 years; range, 2.6 to 17.7 years) with diagnoses of brainstem glioma (n = 6), ependymoma (n = 8), medulloblastoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor (n = 4), glioblastoma multiforme (n = 2), atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (n = 1), malignant glioma (n = 1), and choroid plexus carcinoma, (n = 1). Seventeen patients were fully evaluable for toxicity. No DLTs occurred in the three patients enrolled at 200 mg/m2/dose. At 260 mg/m2/dose, DLTs occurred in two of six patients, both of whom experienced grade 3 ALT and AST. There were no grade 4 toxicities; non–dose-limiting grade 3 toxicities included hypokalemia and lymphopenia. Population pharmacokinetic values (% coefficient of variation) for MK-0752 were apparent oral clearance, 0.444 (38%) L/h/m2; apparent volume of distribution, 7.36 (24%) L/m2; and ka, 0.358 (99%) hr−1.
MK-0752 is well-tolerated in children with recurrent CNS malignancies. The recommended phase II dose using the 3 days on followed by 4 days off schedule is 260 mg/m2/dose once daily.
We performed a phase II study to assess the efficacy and toxicity of tipifarnib, a farnesyltransferase inhibitor, administered with radiation therapy (RT) in children with newly diagnosed diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. Children 3-21 years old with pontine gliomas (BSGs) were treated with concurrent tipifarnib and RT, followed by adjuvant tipifarnib. Tipifarnib was taken orally twice daily (125 mg/m2/dose) during RT; after RT, it was taken at 200 mg/m2 twice daily for 21 days, in 28-day cycles. Initial and follow-up neuroimaging was centrally reviewed. Forty eligible patients (median age, 5.5 years; range, 3.3–16.5 years) had a median progression-free survival of 6.8 months (range, 0.2-18.6 months) and median overall survival of 8.3 months (range, 0.2-18.6 months). Kaplan–Meier estimates (± standard error) of 1-year progression-free and overall survival were 12.9% ±4.9% and 34.3% ±7.4%, respectively. A single patient remained on tipifarnib without progression at the completion of the study, two years after initiation of treatment. Seven patients were without disease progression for at least six months, three of whom remained controlled for more than a year. The most frequent toxicity was grade 3 lymphopenia. We documented a single instance of “pseudoprogression” by neuroimaging review. We found no discordance among 3 approaches to defining disease progression: as interpreted by treating institutions (based on clinical status and/or imaging) and by central review (using bi-dimensional tumor “area” versus volumetric measurements). For children with diffuse BSGs, tipifarnib administered with irradiation offered no clinical advantage over historical controls. Biopsies and molecular analyses of pediatric BSGs are vital for identification of new agents and for rational use of targeted agents.
diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma; farnesyltransferase inhibitors; pediatric
Purpose: Associations of radiation therapy (RT) deviations and outcomes in medulloblastoma have not been defined well, particularly in the era of reduced-dose craniospinal irradiation and chemotherapy. The aim of this study is to evaluate the quality of RT on Children’s Cancer Group/Pediatric Oncology Group 9961 and analyze associations of RT deviations with outcome. Materials and Methods: Major volume deviations were assessed based on the distance from specified anatomical region to field edge. We investigated associations of RT deviations with progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and explored associations with demographics and clinical variables. Results: Of the 308 patients who were evaluable for volume deviations, 101 patients (33%) did not have any. Of the remaining 207 patients, 50% had only minor deviations, 29% had only major deviations, and 21% had both minor and major deviations. Of the patients with major deviations, 73% had a single major deviation. The most common major deviation was in the cribriform plate region, followed by the posterior fossa (PF); PF deviations resulted from treating less than whole PF. There were no significant differences in PFS or OS between patients with deviations and those without. There was no evidence of associations of deviations with patient age. Conclusions: Approximately one-third of patients had major volume deviations. There was no evidence of a significant association between these and outcome. This lack of correlation likely reflects the current high quality of RT delivered in Children’s Oncology Group institutions, our strict definition of volume deviations, and the relatively few instances of multiple major deviations in individual patients. In is noteworthy that the types of PF volume deviations observed in this study were not adversely associated with outcome. As we move forward, quality assurance will continue to play an important role to ensure that deviations on study do not influence study outcome.
medulloblastoma; radiation therapy; quality assurance; craniospinal; posterior fossa
To estimate the maximum tolerated dose (MTD); study the pharmacology of escalating doses of gefitinib combined with radiation therapy in patients ≤21 years with newly diagnosed intrinsic brainstem gliomas (BSG) and incompletely resected supratentorial malignant gliomas (STMG); and to investigate epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) amplification and expression in STMG.
Patients and methods
Three strata were identified: Stratum 1A - BSG; Stratum IB - incompletely resected STMG not receiving enzyme inducing anti-convulsant drugs (EIACD); and Stratum II - incompletely resected STMG receiving EIACD. Dose escalation using a modified 3 + 3 cohort design was performed in strata IA & II. The initial gefitinib dosage was 100mg/m2/day commencing with radiation therapy and the dose-finding period extended until 2 weeks post-radiation. Pharmacokinetics (PK) and biology studies were performed in consenting patients.
Of 23 eligible patients, 20 were evaluable for dose-finding. MTDs for strata IA and II were not established as accrual was halted due to four patients experiencing symptomatic intratumoral hemorrhage (ITH); 2 during and 2 post dose-finding. ITH was observed in 0 of 11 patients treated at 100mg/m2/day, 1 of 10 at 250mg/m2/day, and 3 of 12 at 375mg/m2/day. Subsequently a second patient at 250mg/m2/day experienced ITH. PK analysis showed the median gefitinib systemic exposure increased with dosage (p=0.04). EGFR was overexpressed in 5 of 11 STMG and amplified in 4 (36%) samples.
This trial provides clear evidence of EGFR amplification in a significant proportion of paediatric STMG and 250mg/m2/day was selected for the Phase II trial.
epidermal growth factor receptor; gefitinib; radiotherapy; brain stem neoplasms; supratentorial neoplasms; glioma
Childhood cancer survivors exposed to CNS irradiation are at increased risk for neurocognitive deficits; however, limited data exist linking outcomes with region-specific exposure to CNS irradiation. We report associations between region-specific radiation dose and self-reported neurocognitive and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes in 818 adult survivors of childhood central nervous system (CNS) malignancies from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Survivors were compared with a sibling group and national normative samples to calculate standardized scores. Cumulative radiation dose was calculated for 4 specific brain regions. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between radiation dose to specific brain regions and outcome measures of functional impairment adjusted for clinical and demographic factors, including sex and age at diagnosis. High radiation dose levels to temporal regions were associated with a higher risk for memory impairment (radiation doses ≥30 to <50 Gy: OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.01–3.78; dose ≥50 Gy: OR, 2.34; 95% CI, 1.25–4.39) compared with those with no radiation exposure. No such association was seen with radiation exposure to other regions. Exposure to temporal regions was associated with more social and general health problems, whereas exposure to frontal regions was associated with general health problems and physical performance limitations. Adult survivors of childhood CNS malignancies report higher rates of neuropsychological and HRQOL outcomes, which vary as a function of dose to specific neuroanatomical regions. Survivors with a history of radiation exposure to temporal brain regions are at increased risk for impairment in memory and social functioning.
CNS malignancies; Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS); health-related quality of life; neuropsychological functioning; radiation therapy
To estimate the maximum-tolerated dose, dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), and pharmacokinetic properties of lapatinib, a selective epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ERBB2 inhibitor, in children with refractory or recurrent CNS malignancies.
Patients and Methods
Lapatinib was administered orally twice daily at escalating doses starting at 300 mg/m2 to patients who were not (stratum I) or were (stratum II) receiving steroids. Pharmacokinetic studies were performed during the first two courses. Expression of the four ERBB receptors and downstream signaling elements in tumor tissue was evaluated by immunohistochemistry.
Fifty-nine patients were enrolled (stratum I, n = 32; stratum II, n = 27). Of 29 patients evaluable for toxicity in stratum I, one experienced a DLT (diarrhea) at 520 mg/m2 twice daily, and all three receiving 1,150 mg/m2 twice daily experienced DLTs (one each of rash, diarrhea, and fatigue). Two of 21 patients evaluable for toxicity in stratum II experienced DLTs of rash at 900 mg/m2 twice daily. Lapatinib dosage was related linearly to area under the [concentration-time] curve from start time to 12 hours later (AUC0-12) and dose-normalized maximum serum concentration and AUC values for patients in stratum II were both significantly higher (P = .001) than those for patients in stratum I. Frequent, high-level expression of activated (phosphorylated) EGFR and ERBB2 receptors and downstream signal intermediates were observed in tumors, particularly in ependymomas that displayed prolonged stable disease on lapatinib therapy.
Lapatinib is well tolerated in children with recurrent CNS malignancies, with rash, diarrhea, and fatigue identified as DLTs. The recommended phase II dose, regardless of steroid use, is 900 mg/m2 twice daily.
A phase II study of bevacizumab (BVZ) plus irinotecan (CPT-11) was conducted in children with recurrent malignant glioma (MG) and intrinsic brainstem glioma (BSG).
Patients and Methods
Eligible patients received two doses of BVZ intravenously (10 mg/kg) 2 weeks apart and then BVZ plus CPT-11 every 2 weeks until progressive disease, unacceptable toxicity, or a maximum of 2 years of therapy. Correlative studies included diffusion weighted and T1 dynamic contrast–enhanced permeability imaging, BVZ pharmacokinetics, and estimation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) phosphorylation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) after single-agent BVZ.
Thirty-one evaluable patients received a median of two courses of BVZ plus CPT-11 (range, 1 to 19). No sustained responses were observed in either stratum. Median time to progression for all 34 eligible patients enrolled was 127 days for MG and 71 days for BSG. Progression-free survival rates at 6 months were 41.8% and 9.7% for MG and BSG, respectively. Toxicities related to BVZ included grade 1 to 3 fatigue in seven patients, grade 1 to 2 hypertension in seven patients, grade 1 CNS hemorrhage in four patients, and grade 4 CNS ischemia in two patients. The mean diffusion ratio decreased after two doses of BVZ in patients with MG only. Vascular permeability parameters did not change significantly after therapy in either stratum. Inhibition of VEGFR-2 phosphorylation in PBMC was detected in eight of 11 patients after BVZ exposure.
BVZ plus CPT-11 was well-tolerated but had minimal efficacy in children with recurrent malignant glioma and brainstem glioma.
Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are often cured, but the therapies they receive may be neurotoxic. Little is known about the incidence and severity of late-occurring neurologic sequelae in ALL survivors. Data were analyzed to determine the incidence of adverse long-term neurologic outcomes and treatment-related risk factors.
Patients and Methods
We analyzed adverse neurologic outcomes that occurred after diagnosis in 4,151 adult survivors of childhood ALL who participated in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), a retrospective cohort of 5-year survivors of childhood cancer diagnosed between 1970 and 1986. A randomly selected cohort of the survivors' siblings served as a comparison group. Self-reported auditory-vestibular-visual sensory deficits, focal neurologic dysfunction, seizures, and serious headaches were assessed.
The median age at outcome assessment was 20.2 years for survivors. The median follow-up time to death or last survey since ALL diagnosis was 14.1 years. Of the survivors, 64.5% received cranial radiation and 94% received intrathecal chemotherapy. Compared with the sibling cohort, survivors were at elevated risk for late-onset auditory-vestibular-visual sensory deficits (rate ratio [RR], 1.8; 95% CI, 1.5 to 2.2), coordination problems (RR, 4.1; 95% CI, 3.1 to 5.3), motor problems (RR, 5.0; 95% CI, 3.8 to 6.7), seizures (RR, 4.6; 95% CI, 3.4 to 6.2), and headaches (RR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.4 to 1.7). In multivariable analysis, relapse was the most influential factor that increased risk of late neurologic complications.
Children treated with regimens that include cranial radiation for ALL and those who suffer a relapse are at increased risk for late-onset neurologic sequelae.
Approximately 80% of children currently survive 5 years following diagnosis of their cancer. Studies based on limited data have implicated certain cancer therapies in the development of ocular sequelae in these survivors.
The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) is a retrospective cohort study investigating health outcomes of 5+ year survivors diagnosed and treated between 1970 and 1986 compared to a sibling cohort. The baseline questionnaire included questions about the first occurrence of 6 ocular conditions. Relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated from responses of 14,362 survivors and 3,901 siblings.
Five or more years from the diagnosis, survivors were at increased risk of cataracts (RR:10.8; 95% CI: 6.2–18.9), glaucoma (RR: 2.5; 95% CI: 1.1–5.7), legal blindness (RR: 2.6; 95% CI: 1.7–4.0), double vision (RR:4.1; 95% CI: 2.7–6.1), and dry eyes (RR: 1.9; 95% CI: 1.6–2.4), when compared to siblings. Dose of radiation to the eye was significantly associated with risk of cataracts, legal blindness, double vision, and dry eyes, in a dose-dependent fashion. Risk of cataracts were also associated with radiation 3000+ cGy to the posterior fossa (RR: 8.4; 95% CI: 5.0–14.3), temporal lobe (RR: 9.4; 95% CI: 5.6–15.6), and exposure to prednisone (RR:2.3; 95% CI:.1.6–3.4)
Childhood cancer survivors are at risk of developing late occurring ocular complications, with exposure to glucocorticoids and cranial radiation being important determinants of increased risk. Long-term follow-up is needed to evaluate potential progression of ocular deficits and impact on quality of life.
late effects of cancer therapy; radiation therapy; chemotherapy
Among survivors of childhood cancer, those with Central Nervous System (CNS) malignancies have been found to be at greatest risk for neuropsychological dysfunction in the first few years following diagnosis and treatment. This study follows survivors to adulthood to assess the long term impact of childhood CNS malignancy and its treatment on neurocognitive functioning.
Participants & Methods
As part of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), 802 survivors of childhood CNS malignancy, 5937 survivors of non-CNS malignancy and 382 siblings without cancer completed a 25 item Neurocognitive Questionnaire (CCSS-NCQ) at least 16 years post cancer diagnosis assessing task efficiency, emotional regulation, organizational skills and memory. Neurocognitive functioning in survivors of CNS malignancy was compared to that of non-CNS malignancy survivors and a sibling cohort. Within the group of CNS malignancy survivors, multiple linear regression was used to assess the contribution of demographic, illness and treatment variables to reported neurocognitive functioning and the relationship of reported neurocognitive functioning to educational, employment and income status.
Survivors of CNS malignancy reported significantly greater neurocognitive impairment on all factors assessed by the CCSS-NCQ than non-CNS cancer survivors or siblings (p<.01), with mean T scores of CNS malignancy survivors substantially more impaired that those of the sibling cohort (p<.001), with a large effect size for Task Efficiency (1.16) and a medium effect size for Memory (.68). Within the CNS malignancy group, medical complications, including hearing deficits, paralysis and cerebrovascular incidents resulted in a greater likelihood of reported deficits on all of the CCSS-NCQ factors, with generally small effect sizes (.22-.50). Total brain irradiation predicted greater impairment on Task Efficiency and Memory (Effect sizes: .65 and .63, respectively), as did partial brain irradiation, with smaller effect sizes (.49 and .43, respectively). Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement was associated with small deficits on the same scales (Effect sizes: Task Efficiency .26, Memory .32). Female gender predicted a greater likelihood of impaired scores on 2 scales, with small effect sizes (Task Efficiency .38, Emotional Regulation .45), while diagnosis before age 2 years resulted in less likelihood of reported impairment on the Memory factor with a moderate effect size (.64). CNS malignancy survivors with more impaired CCSS-NCQ scores demonstrated significantly lower educational attainment (p<.01), less household income (p<.001) and less full time employment (p<.001).
Survivors of childhood CNS malignancy are at significant risk for impairment in neurocognitive functioning in adulthood, particularly if they have received cranial radiation, had a VP shunt placed, suffered a cerebrovascular incident or are left with hearing or motor impairments. Reported neurocognitive impairment adversely affected important adult outcomes, including education, employment, income and marital status.
Neurocognitive functioning; brain tumors; CNS malignancies; Childhood Cancer Survivor Study
Adult survivors of childhood central nervous system (CNS) malignancies are at high risk for long-term morbidity and late mortality. However, patterns of late mortality, the long-term risks of subsequent neoplasms and debilitating medical conditions, and sociodemographic outcomes have not been comprehensively characterized for individual diagnostic and treatment groups.
We collected information on treatment, mortality, chronic medical conditions, and neurocognitive functioning of adult 5-year survivors of CNS malignancies diagnosed between 1970 and 1986 within the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Using competing risk framework, we calculated cumulative mortality according to cause of death and cumulative incidence of subsequent neoplasms according to exposure and dose of cranial radiation therapy (RT). Neurocognitive impairment and socioeconomic outcomes were assessed with respect to dose of CNS radiotherapy to specific brain regions. Cumulative incidence of chronic medical conditions was compared between survivors and siblings using Cox regression models. All tests of statistical significance were two-sided.
Among all eligible 5-year survivors (n = 2821), cumulative late mortality at 30 years was 25.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 23.4% to 28.3%), due primarily to recurrence and/or progression of primary disease. Patients who received cranial RT of 50 Gy or more (n = 813) had a cumulative incidence of a subsequent neoplasm within the CNS of 7.1% (95% CI = 4.5% to 9.6%) at 25 years from diagnosis compared with 1.0% (95% CI = 0% to 2.3%) for patients who had no RT. Survivors had higher risk than siblings of developing new endocrine, neurological, or sensory complications 5 or more years after diagnosis. Neurocognitive impairment was high and proportional to radiation dose for specific tumor types. There was a dose-dependent association between RT to the frontal and/or temporal lobes and lower rates of employment, and marriage.
Survivors of childhood CNS malignancies are at high risk for late mortality and for developing subsequent neoplasms and chronic medical conditions. Care providers should be informed of these risks so they can provide risk-directed care and develop screening guidelines.
Survival for childhood cancer has increased dramatically over the last 40 years with 5-year survival rates now approaching 80%. For many diagnostic groups, rapid increases in survival began in the 1970s with the broader introduction of multimodality approaches, often including combination chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy. With this increase in rates of survivorship has come the recognition that survivors are at risk for adverse health and quality-of-life outcomes, with risk being influenced by host-, disease-, and treatment-related factors. In 1994, the US National Cancer Institute funded the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, a multi-institutional research initiative designed to establish a large and extensively characterized cohort of more than 14,000 5-year survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer diagnosed between 1970 and 1986. This ongoing study, which reflects the single most comprehensive body of information ever assembled on childhood and adolescent cancer survivors, provides a dynamic framework and resource to investigate current and future questions about childhood cancer survivors.
Survival rates of pediatric brain tumor patients have significantly improved over the years due to developments in diagnostic techniques, neurosurgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and supportive care. However, brain tumors are still an important cause of cancer-related deaths in children. Prognosis is still highly dependent on clinical characteristics, such as the age of the patient, tumor type, stage, and localization, but increased knowledge about the genetic and biological features of these tumors is being obtained and might be useful to further improve outcome for these patients. It has become clear that the deregulation of signaling pathways essential in brain development, for example, sonic hedgehog (SHH), Wnt, and Notch pathways, plays an important role in pathogenesis and biological behavior, especially for medulloblastomas. More recently, data have become available about the cells of origin of brain tumors and the possible existence of brain tumor stem cells. Newly developed array-based techniques for studying gene expression, protein expression, copy number aberrations, and epigenetic events have led to the identification of other potentially important biological abnormalities in pediatric medulloblastomas and ependymomas.
biological characteristics; ependymoma; epigenetic events; gene expression; medulloblastoma; protein expression; signaling pathways