The current study reports longitudinal coping responses among parents of children diagnosed with an embryonal brain tumor.
Patients and Methods
Patients (n=219) were enrolled on a treatment protocol for a pediatric embryonal brain tumor. Their parents (n=251) completed the Coping Response Inventory at time of their child’s diagnosis and yearly thereafter, resulting in 502 observations. Outcomes were examined with patient and parent age at diagnosis, patient risk, parent gender and education as covariates.
At the time of diagnosis, the highest observed coping method was seeking guidance with well above average scores (T=61.6). Over time, younger parents were found to seek guidance at a significantly higher rate than older parents (p=.016) and the use of acceptance resignation and seeking alternative results by all parents significantly increased (p=.011 and p<.0001 respectively). The use of emotional discharge was also observed above average at time of diagnosis (T= 55.4) with younger fathers being more likely to exhibit emotional discharge than older fathers (p=.002). Differences in coping according to age of the patient and parent education level are also discussed.
Results show a high need for guidance, and above average emotional discharge, especially among younger parents. It is imperative for the healthcare team to lead with accurate information so that these parents may make informed decisions about the care of their child. This need remains high years after diagnosis. Therefore it is critical to continue a consistent level of effective communication and support, even following treatment.
pediatric; brain tumor; medulloblastoma; psychological sequelae
Children treated with cranial irradiation for brain tumors have reduced white matter volume and deficits in reading ability. This study prospectively examined the relationship between reading and white matter integrity within this patient group.
Patients (n=54) were treated with post-surgical radiation followed by 4 cycles of high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell support. At 12 months post-diagnosis, all patients completed a neuropsychology evaluation and a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) exam. White matter integrity was determined through measures of fractional anisotropy (FA).
Significant group differences in FA were found between above average readers and below average readers within the left and right posterior limb of the internal capsule, and right knee of the internal capsule with a trend within the left temporal-occipital region.
The integrity of the white matter in these regions may affect communication among visual, auditory, and language cortical areas that are engaged during reading.
diffusion tensor imaging; reading; pediatric brain tumors
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
A phase I trial of lenalidomide was performed in children with recurrent, refractory, or progressive primary CNS tumors to estimate the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) and to describe the toxicity profile and pharmacokinetics.
Patients and Methods
Lenalidomide was administered by mouth daily for 21 days, repeated every 28 days. The starting dose was 15 mg/m2/d orally, and the dose was escalated according to a modified continuous reassessment method. Correlative studies included pharmacokinetics obtained from consenting patients on course 1, day 1, and at steady-state (between days 7 and 21).
Fifty-one patients (median age, 10 years; range, 2 to 21 years) were enrolled. Forty-four patients were evaluable for dose finding, and 49 patients were evaluable for toxicity. The primary toxicity was myelosuppression, but the MTD was not defined because doses up to 116 mg/m2/d were well-tolerated during the dose-finding period. Two objective responses were observed (one in thalamic juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma and one in optic pathway glioma) at dose levels of 88 and 116 mg/m2/d. Twenty-three patients, representing all dose levels, received ≥ six cycles of therapy. Pharmacokinetic analysis demonstrated that the lenalidomide area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 hours and maximum plasma concentration increased with dosage over the range studied.
Lenalidomide was tolerable in children with CNS tumors at doses of 116 mg/m2/d during the initial dose-finding period. The primary toxicity is myelosuppression. Antitumor activity, defined by both objective responses and long-term stable disease, was observed, primarily in patients with low-grade gliomas.
To purpose of this study was to evaluate the activity and toxicity of dexamethasone, high-dose cytarabine, and carboplatin (DAC) combination therapy in children with newly diagnosed large-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and to estimate the event-free and overall survival rates achieved when DAC is incorporated into a conventional regimen.
Patients and Methods
From 1991 to 1997, 20 boys and 5 girls aged 4.2 to 17.7 years who had stage III (n=21) or stage IV (n=4) large-cell NHL were treated on this study. DAC therapy was administered at the beginning of the induction phase in 2 sequential cycles and incorporated throughout a continuation phase (modified from the ACOP+ regimen) with doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine and dexamethasone. The total duration of treatment was approximately 10 months.
DAC therapy yielded a response in 22 of 25 patients (88%, 95% CI 68%-97%): complete remission in 13 cases (52%) and partial response in 9 (36%). After additional treatment with doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and dexamethasone, complete remission was attained in 18 patients (72%) and partial remission in 3 (12%). The event-free survival rate (±SE) was 64% ± 9% and the overall survival rate was 80% ± 8% at 5 years.
The DAC regimen is well tolerated and effective for pediatric large-cell NHL.
Dexamethasone; Cytarabine; Carboplatin; Childhood; Large cell; Lymphoma
Posterior fossa syndrome is characterized by cerebellar dysfunction, oromotor/oculomotor apraxia, emotional lability and mutism in patients after infratentorial injury. The underlying neuroanatomical substrates of posterior fossa syndrome are unknown, but dentatothalamocortical tracts have been implicated. We used pre- and postoperative neuroimaging to investigate proximal dentatothalamocortical tract involvement in childhood embryonal brain tumour patients who developed posterior fossa syndrome following tumour resection. Diagnostic imaging from a cohort of 26 paediatric patients previously operated on for an embryonal brain tumour (13 patients prospectively diagnosed with posterior fossa syndrome, and 13 non-affected patients) were evaluated. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging was used to define relevant tumour features, including two potentially predictive measures. Postoperative magnetic resonance and diffusion tensor imaging were used to characterize operative injury and tract-based differences in anisotropy of water diffusion. In patients who developed posterior fossa syndrome, initial tumour resided higher in the 4th ventricle (P = 0.035). Postoperative magnetic resonance signal abnormalities within the superior cerebellar peduncles and midbrain were observed more often in patients with posterior fossa syndrome (P = 0.030 and 0.003, respectively). The fractional anisotropy of water was lower in the bilateral superior cerebellar peduncles, in the bilateral fornices, white matter region proximate to the right angular gyrus (Tailerach coordinates 35, –71, 19) and white matter region proximate to the left superior frontal gyrus (Tailerach coordinates –24, 57, 20). Our findings suggest that multiple bilateral injuries to the proximal dentatothalamocortical pathways may predispose the development of posterior fossa syndrome, that functional disruption of the white matter bundles containing efferent axons within the superior cerebellar peduncles is a critical underlying pathophysiological component of posterior fossa syndrome, and that decreased fractional anisotropy in the fornices and cerebral cortex may be related to the abnormal neurobehavioural symptoms of posterior fossa syndrome.
posterior fossa; cerebellum; mutism; medulloblastoma
The Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC) is a multidisciplinary cooperative research organization devoted to the study of correlative tumor biology and new therapies for primary CNS tumors of childhood. The PBTC was created in 1999 to conduct early phase studies in a rapid fashion in order to provide sound scientific foundation for the Children’s Oncology Group to conduct definitive trials. The Operations and Biostatistics Center (OBC) of the PBTC is responsible for centrally administering study design and trial development, study conduct and monitoring, data collection and management as well as various regulatory and compliance processes. The Phase I designs utilized for the consortium trials have accommodated challenges unique to pediatric trials such as BSA-based dosing in the absence of pediatric formulations of oral agents. Further during the past decade, the OBC has developed and implemented a state-of-the-art secure and efficient internet-based paperless distributed data management system. Additional web-based systems are also in place for tracking and distributing correlative study data as well as neuro-imaging files. These systems enable effective communications among the members of the consortium and facilitate the conduct and timely reporting of multi-institutional early phase clinical trials.
Children and adolescents with malignant astrocytomas recurring after initial treatment have a dismal prognosis, with only rare patients surviving one year beyond recurrence. The purpose of this study was to attempt to improve their survival.
Twenty-seven children and adolescents with malignant astrocytomas (17 glioblastoma multiforme and 10 anaplastic astrocytoma) following initial tumor progression, received myeloablative chemotherapy followed by autologous marrow rescue with one of three thiotepa and etoposide-based chemotherapy regimens, administered alone (n=11) or combined with carmustine (n=5) or carboplatin (n=11). Time to progression and death following myeloablative chemotherapy for these patients was compared non-randomly with outcome of a contemporaneously treated cohort of similar patients who received only conventional chemotherapy following initial tumor progression. The two cohorts were compared for age, histology, prior therapies, extent of surgical resection at progression and time from initial diagnosis to progression.
Five of 27 children (two with glioblastoma multiforme and three with anaplastic astrocytoma) survive event-free from 8.3 to 13.3 years (median of 11.1 years) following myeloablative chemotherapy. Of 56 children with recurrent malignant astrocytoma who received conventional chemotherapy following initial progression, no patient survives. Differences in distributions of survival were not significant when stratified by surgical debulking (p=0.39). However, for patients who were surgically debulked, the survival distributions are significantly different (p=0.017).
Myeloablative chemotherapy with autologous marrow rescue can produce durable remissions in children and young adults with recurrent malignant gliomas, in the setting of minimal residual tumor burden achieved surgically.
Myeloablative chemotherapy; autologous bone marrow rescue; recurrent malignant astrocytoma
SU5416 is a novel small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor of the VEGF receptors 1 and 2. A phase I dose escalation study stratified by concurrent use (stratum II) or absence (Stratum I) of enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant drugs was undertaken to estimate the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) and to describe the toxicity profile of SU5416 in pediatric patients with refractory brain tumors. Dose escalations were conducted independently for stratum I starting at 110mg/m2 while stratum II started at 48mg/m2. Thirty-three eligible patients were treated on stratum I (n=23) and stratum II (n=10). Tumor types included 23 glial tumors, 4 neural tumors, 4 ependymomas and 2 choroid plexus carcinomas. The MTD in Stratum I was initially estimated to be 110mg/m2. The protocol was amended to determine the MTD after excluding transient AST elevation. Re-estimation of the MTD began at the 145mg/m2 dose level but due to development of SU5416 being stopped by the sponsor, the trial was closed before completion. The most serious drug-related toxicities were grade 3 liver enzyme abnormalities, arthralgia and hallucinations. The plasma pharmacokinetics of SU5416 was not significantly affected by the concurrent administration of enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant drugs. Mean values of the total body clearance, apparent volume of distribution, and terminal phase half-life of SU5416 for the 19 patients in Stratum I were 26.1 ± 12.5 liter/h/m2, 41.9 ± 21.4 liter/m2, and 1.11 ± 0.41 h, respectively. The plasma pharmacokinetics of SU5416 in children was similar to previously reported findings in adult cancer patients. Prolonged disease stabilization was observed in 4 of 16 stratum 1 patients.
VEGF; Anti-angiogenesis; Brain tumor; SU5416
We undertook this study to estimate the event-free survival (EFS) of patients with newly diagnosed supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor (SPNET) treated with risk-adapted craniospinal irradiation (CSI) with additional radiation to the primary tumor site and subsequent high-dose chemotherapy supported by stem cell rescue. Between 1996 and 2003, 16 patients with SPNET were enrolled. High-risk (HR) disease was differentiated from average-risk (AR) disease by the presence of residual tumor (M0 and tumor size > 1.5 cm2) or disseminated disease in the neuraxis (M1–M3). Patients received risk-adapted CSI: those with AR disease received 23.4 Gy; those with HR disease, 36–39.6 Gy. The tumor bed received a total of 55.8 Gy. Subsequently, all patients received four cycles of high-dose cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and vincristine with stem cell support. The median age at diagnosis was 7.9 years; eight patients were female. Seven patients had pineal PNET. Twelve patients are alive at a median follow-up of 5.4 years. The 5-year EFS and overall survival (OS) estimates for all patients were 68% ± 14% and 73% ± 13%. The 5-year EFS and OS estimates were 75% ± 17% and 88% ± 13%, respectively, for the eight patients with AR disease and 60% ± 19% and 58% ± 19%, respectively, for the eight with HR disease. No deaths were due to toxicity. High-dose cyclophosphamide-based chemotherapy with stem cell support after risk-adapted CSI results in excellent EFS estimates for patients with newly diagnosed AR SPNET. Further, this chemotherapy allows for a reduction in the dose of CSI used to treat AR SPNET without compromising EFS.
autologous stem cell rescue; craniospinal radiotherapy; dose-intensive chemotherapy; event-free survival; risk-adapted therapy; supratentorial PNET
Limiting neurocognitive sequelae of radiation therapy (RT) has been an objective in the treatment of medulloblastoma (MB). Conformal RT to less than the entire posterior fossa (PF) after craniospinal irradiation (CSI) may reduce neurocognitive sequelae and requires evaluation.
Between October 1996 and August 2003, 86 patients, 3-21 years of age, with newly diagnosed, average-risk MB were treated on a prospective, IRB-approved, multi-institution trial of risk-adapted RT and dose-intensive chemotherapy. RT began within 28 days of definitive surgery and consisted of CSI (23.4 Gy), conformal PF RT (36.0 Gy) and primary site RT (55.8 Gy). The planning target volume for the primary site included the post-operative tumor bed surrounded by an anatomically confined margin of 2 cm which was then expanded with a geometric margin of 0.3-0.5 cm. Chemotherapy was initiated 6 weeks after RT and included 4 cycles of high-dose cyclophosphamide, cisplatin and vincristine.
With a median follow-up of 61.2 months (5.2-115.0 months), the estimated 5-year event-free survival and cumulative incidence of PF failure were 83.0% ± 5.3% and 4.9% ± 2.4% (±SE), respectively. Targeting guidelines used in this study resulted in a mean reduction of 13% in the volume of the PF receiving doses above 55Gy compared to conventionally planned RT. Reductions in dose to the temporal lobes, cochleae and hypothalamus were statistically significant.
This prospective trial demonstrates that irradiation of less than the entire PF after 23.4 Gy CSI for average-risk MB results in disease control comparable to treatment of the entire PF.
Radiotherapy; conformal radiotherapy; chemotherapy; pediatrics; CNS neoplasm
To determine the role of amifostine as a protectant against cisplatin-induced ototoxicity in patients with average risk (AR) medulloblastoma treated with craniospinal radiotherapy and 4 cycles of cisplatin-based dose-intense chemotherapy and stem cell rescue.
Patients and Methods
The primary objective was to determine whether, in patients with AR medulloblastoma (n=62), amifostine would decrease the need for hearing aids (defined as ≥ grade 3 ototoxicity in one ear) compared to a control group (n=35), one year from initiating treatment. (Figure 1) Ninety-seven patients received CSI (23.4 Gy) followed by 55.8 Gy to the primary tumor bed, using 3-D conformal technique and 4 cycles of high-dose cyclophosphamide (4000 mg/m2 per cycle), cisplatin (75 mg/m2 per cycle), and vincristine (two 1.5 mg/m2 doses per cycle) and stem cell rescue. When used, amifostine (600 mg/m2 per dose) was given as a bolus immediately prior to and 3 hours into the cisplatin infusion.
The median age of the 97 patients was 8.7 years (range, 3.2–20.2 years). The study and control groups were similar in age and sex distribution. Amifostine was well-tolerated. One year after treatment initiation, 13 (37.1%) of the control-group versus 9 (14.5%; p=0.005 Chi-Square one-sided test) of the amifostine-treated patients had ≥ grade 3 ototoxicity, requiring hearing aid in at least one ear.
Amifostine administered prior to and during the cisplatin infusion can significantly reduce the risk of severe ototoxicity in patients with AR medulloblastoma receiving dose-intense chemotherapy.
amifostine; ototoxicity; cisplatin
Primary intraocular lymphoma (PIOL) is a subset of primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) in which lymphoma cells initially invade the retina, vitreous, or optic nerve head, with or without concomitant CNS involvement. The incidence of this previously rare condition has increased dramatically. Given its nonspecific presentation and aggressive course, PIOL provides a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge.
We review the current strategies for diagnosis and treatment of PIOL and present our own experience with PIOL.
Recent developments in the diagnosis of PIOL include immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, cytokine evaluation, and molecular analysis. However, definitive diagnosis still requires harvesting of tissue for histopathology. Optimal treatment for PIOL remains unclear. Initial therapeutic regimens should include methotrexate-based chemotherapy and radiotherapy to the brain and eye. In addition, promising results have been seen with intravitreal methotrexate and autologous stem cell transplantation for recurrent and refractory disease.
Efforts to further determine the immunophenotype and molecular characteristics of PIOL will continue to assist in the diagnosis of PIOL. Future studies are required to determine the role of radiotherapy and optimal local and systemic chemotherapeutic regimens.
Primary intraocular lymphoma (PIOL) is a diffuse large B cell lymphoma that initially infiltrates the retina, vitreous, or optic nerve head, with or without central nervous system involvement. This study examined the expression of the bcl-2 t(14;18) translocation, the bcl-10 gene, and high expression of bcl-6 mRNA in PIOL cells.
Microdissection and PCR analysis were used to examine vitreous specimens in patients with PIOL for the presence of bcl-2 t(14;18) translocations, the bcl-10 gene, and expression of bcl-6 mRNA. A medical record review was also conducted to determine whether the bcl-2 t(14;18) translocation correlated with prognosis.
Forty of 72 (55%) PIOL patients expressed the bcl-2 t(14;18) translocation at the major breakpoint region. Fifteen of 68 (22%) patients expressed the translocation at the minor cluster region. The bcl-10 gene was detected in 6 of 26 (23%) patients, whereas 4 of 4 (100%) PIOL patients expressed higher levels of bcl-6 mRNA compared with inflammatory lymphocytes. An analysis of clinical outcome in 23 PIOL patients revealed no significant association between bcl-2 t(14;18) translocations and survival or relapse. However, patients with the translocation were significantly younger.
PIOL has unique molecular patterns of bcl-2, bcl-10, and bcl-6 when compared with other systemic lympho-mas. This study lays the foundation for future studies aimed at exploring the genotypic classification of PIOL based on the quantitative molecular framework of gene expression profil-ing, with the goal of providing useful adjuncts to the pathologic diagnosis of this complex disease.
Testicular lymphoma is a rare neoplasm of the testis that is most commonly seen in older patients. It metastasizes preferentially to extranodal sites, including the skin, central nervous system, Waldeyer ring, contralateral testis, and lung. Two case reports of patients with a history of testicular lymphoma who developed involvement of the vitreous and retina are presented. These are interesting cases as the testis, central nervous system, and eye are all immune privileged organs, which may account for occurrence of disease in these sites. Histopathologic examination of diagnostic vitrectomy specimens from both cases showed atypical lymphoid cells with immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) gene rearrangements, consistent with the diagnosis of intraocular B-cell lymphoma. The results of a literature review of all reports of ocular involvement with testicular lymphoma are discussed. Patients with testicular lymphoma are at risk for relapse, particularly in the central nervous system. Clinicians should be suspicious for intraocular lymphoma in patients with a history of testicular lymphoma who present with vitritis or retinal lesions.
immune privileged organ; immunohistochemistry; intraocular lymphoma; microdissection; PCR; retina; testicular lymphoma; vitreous