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1.  Phase I study evaluating the treatment of patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer with carbon ion radiotherapy: the PHOENIX-01 trial 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:419.
Background
Treatment options for patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer include surgery, chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy. In many cases, surgical resection is not possible, and therefore treatment alternatives have to be performed. Chemoradiation has been established as a convincing treatment alternative for locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Carbon ions offer physical and biological characteristics. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increased relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 1.16 and 2.46 depending on the pancreatic cancer cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed. Japanese Data on the evaluation of carbon ion radiation therapy showed promising results for patients with pancreatic cancer.
Methods and design
The present PHOENIX-01 trial evaluates carbon ion radiotherapy using the active rasterscanning technique in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer in combination with weekly gemcitabine and adjuvant gemcitabine. Primary endpoint is toxicity, secondary endpoints are overall survival, progression-free survival and response.
Discussion
The physical and biological properties of the carbon ion beam promise to improve the therapeutic ratio in patients with pancreatic cancer: Due to the inverted dose profile dose deposition in the entry channel of the beam leads to sparing of normal tissue; the Bragg peak can be directed into the defined target volume, and the sharp dose fall-off thereafter again spares normal tissue behind the target volume. The higher RBE of carbon ions, which has been shown also for pancreatic cancer cell lines in the preclinical setting, is likely to contribute to an increase in local control, and perhaps in OS. Early data from Japanese centers have shown promising results. In conclusion, this is the first trial to evaluate actively delivered carbon ion beams in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer within a dose-escalation strategy.
Trial registration
NCT01795274
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-419
PMCID: PMC3849371  PMID: 24034562
2.  Phase I/II trial evaluating carbon ion radiotherapy for the treatment of recurrent rectal cancer: the PANDORA-01 trial 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:137.
Background
Treatment standard for patients with rectal cancer depends on the initial staging and includes surgical resection, radiotherapy as well as chemotherapy. For stage II and III tumors, radiochemotherapy should be performed in addition to surgery, preferentially as preoperative radiochemotherapy or as short-course hypofractionated radiation. Advances in surgical approaches, especially the establishment of the total mesorectal excision (TME) in combination with sophisticated radiation and chemotherapy have reduced local recurrence rates to only few percent. However, due to the high incidence of rectal cancer, still a high absolute number of patients present with recurrent rectal carcinomas, and effective treatment is therefore needed.
Carbon ions offer physical and biological advantages. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increase relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 2 and 5 depending on the cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed.
Japanese data on the treatment of patients with recurrent rectal cancer previously not treated with radiation therapy have shown local control rates of carbon ion treatment superior to those of surgery. Therefore, this treatment concept should also be evaluated for recurrences after radiotherapy, when dose application using conventional photons is limited. Moreover, these patients are likely to benefit from the enhanced biological efficacy of carbon ions.
Methods and design
In the current Phase I/II-PANDORA-01-Study the recommended dose of carbon ion radiotherapy for recurrent rectal cancer will be determined in the Phase I part, and feasibilty and progression-free survival will be assessed in the Phase II part of the study.
Within the Phase I part, increasing doses from 12 × 3 Gy E to 18 × 3 Gy E will be applied.
The primary endpoint in the Phase I part is toxicity, the primary endpoint in the Phase II part is progression-free survival.
Discussion
With conventional photon irradiation treatment of recurrent rectal cancer is limited, and the clinical effect is only moderate. With carbon ions, an improved outcome can be expected due to the physical and biological characteristics of the carbon ion beam. However, the optimal dose applicable in this clincial situation as re-irradiation still has to be determined. This, as well as efficacy, is to be evaluated in the present Phase I/II trial.
Trial registration
NCT01528683
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-137
PMCID: PMC3342902  PMID: 22472035
3.  Monitoring of patients treated with particle therapy using positron-emission-tomography (PET): the MIRANDA study 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:133.
Background
The purpose of this clinical study is to investigate the clinical feasibility and effectiveness of offline Positron-Emission-Tomography (PET) quality assurance for promoting the accuracy of proton and carbon ion beam therapy.
Methods/Design
A total of 240 patients will be recruited, evenly sampled among different analysis groups including tumors of the brain, skull base, head and neck region, upper gastrointestinal tract including the liver, lower gastrointestinal tract, prostate and pelvic region. From the comparison of the measured activity with the planned dose and its corresponding simulated activity distribution, conclusions on the delivered treatment will be inferred and, in case of significant deviations, correction strategies will be elaborated.
Discussion
The investigated patients are expected to benefit from this study, since in case of detected deviations between planned and actual treatment delivery a proper intervention (e.g., correction) could be performed in a subsequent irradiation fraction. In this way, an overall better treatment could be achieved than without any in-vivo verification. Moreover, site-specific patient-population information on the precision of the ion range at HIT might enable improvement of the CT-range calibration curve as well as safe reduction of the treatment margins to promote enhanced treatment plan conformality and dose escalation for full clinical exploitation of the promises of ion beam therapy.
Trial Registration
NCT01528670
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-133
PMCID: PMC3350391  PMID: 22471947
4.  Phase i study evaluating the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with carbon ion radiotherapy: The PROMETHEUS-01 trial 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:67.
Background
Treatment options for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are often limited. In most cases, they are not amenable to local therapies including surgery or radiofrequency ablation. The multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib has shown to increase overall survival in this patient group for about 3 months.
Radiation therapy is a treatment alternative, however, high local doses are required for long-term local control. However, due to the relatively low radiation tolerance of liver normal tissue, even using stereotactic techniques, delivery of sufficient doses for successful local tumor control has not be achieved to date.
Carbon ions offer physical and biological characteristics. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increased relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 2 and 3 depending on the HCC cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed.
Japanese Data on the evaluation of carbon ion radiation therapy showed promising results for patients with HCC.
Methods/Design
In the current Phase I-PROMETHEUS-01-Study, carbon ion radiotherapy will be evaluated for patients with advanced HCC. The study will be performed as a dose-escalation study evaluating the optimal carbon ion dose with respect to toxicity and tumor control.
Primary endpoint is toxicity, secondary endpoint is progression-free survival and response.
Discussion
The Prometheus-01 trial ist the first trial evaluating carbon ion radiotherapy delivered by intensity-modulated rasterscanning for the treatment of HCC. Within this Phase I dose escalation study, the optimal dose of carbon ion radiotherapy will be determined.
Trial registration
NCT 01167374
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-67
PMCID: PMC3045987  PMID: 21314962
5.  Treatment of patients with atypical meningiomas Simpson grade 4 and 5 with a carbon ion boost in combination with postoperative photon radiotherapy: The MARCIE Trial 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:615.
Background
Treatment standard for patients with atypical or anaplastic meningioma is neurosurgical resection. With this approach, local control ranges between 50% and 70%, depending on resection status. A series or smaller studies has shown that postoperative radiotherapy in this patient population can increase progression-free survival, which translates into increased overall survival. However, meningiomas are known to be radioresistant tumors, and radiation doses of 60 Gy or higher have been shown to be necessary for tumor control.
Carbon ions offer physical and biological characteristics. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increased relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 2 and 5 depending on the cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed.
First data obtained within the Phase I/II trial performed at GSI in Darmstadt on carbon ion radiotherapy for patients with high-risk meningiomas has shown safety, and treatment results are promising.
Methods/design
The Phase II-MARCIE-Study will evaluate a carbon ion boost applied to the macroscopic tumor in conjunction with photon radiotherapy in patients with atypical menigiomas after incomplete resection or biopsy.
Primary endpoint is progression-free survival, secondary endpoints are overall survival, safety and toxicity.
Discussion
Based on published data on the treatment of atypical meningiomas with carbon ions at GSI, the present study will evaluate this treatment concept in a larger patient population and will compare outcome to current standard photon treatment.
Trial registration
NCT01166321
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-615
PMCID: PMC2996393  PMID: 21062428
6.  Randomised trial of proton vs. carbon ion radiation therapy in patients with chordoma of the skull base, clinical phase III study HIT-1-Study 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:607.
Background
Chordomas of the skull base are relative rare lesions of the bones. Surgical resection is the primary treatment standard, though complete resection is nearly impossible due to close proximity to critical and hence also dose limiting organs for radiation therapy. Level of recurrence after surgery alone is comparatively high, so adjuvant radiation therapy is very important for the improvement of local control rates. Proton therapy is the gold standard in the treatment of skull base chordomas. However, high-LET beams such as carbon ions theoretically offer biologic advantages by enhanced biologic effectiveness in slow-growing tumors.
Methods/design
This clinical study is a prospective randomised phase III trial. The trial will be carried out at Heidelberger Ionenstrahl-Therapie centre (HIT) and is a monocentric study.
Patients with skull base chordoma will be randomised to either proton or carbon ion radiation therapy. As a standard, patients will undergo non-invasive, rigid immobilization and target volume delineation will be carried out based on CT and MRI data. The biologically isoeffective target dose to the PTV in carbon ion treatment (accelerated dose) will be 63 Gy E ± 5% and 72 Gy E ± 5% (standard dose) in proton therapy respectively. Local-progression free survival (LPFS) will be analysed as primary end point. Toxicity and overall survival are the secondary end points. Additional examined parameters are patterns of recurrence, prognostic factors and plan quality analysis.
Discussion
Up until now it was impossible to compare two different particle therapies, i.e. protons and carbon ions directly at the same facility.
The aim of this study is to find out, whether the biological advantages of carbon ion therapy can also be clinically confirmed and translated into the better local control rates in the treatment of skull base chordomas.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01182779
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-607
PMCID: PMC2988755  PMID: 21054824
7.  Randomised trial of proton vs. carbon ion radiation therapy in patients with low and intermediate grade chondrosarcoma of the skull base, clinical phase III study 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:606.
Background
Low and intermediate grade chondrosarcomas are relative rare bone tumours. About 5-12% of all chondrosarcomas are localized in base of skull region. Low grade chondrosarcoma has a low incidence of distant metastasis but is potentially lethal disease. Therefore, local therapy is of crucial importance in the treatment of skull base chondrosarcomas. Surgical resection is the primary treatment standard. Unfortunately the late diagnosis and diagnosis at the extensive stage are common due to the slow and asymptomatic growth of the lesions. Consequently, complete resection is hindered due to close proximity to critical and hence dose limiting organs such as optic nerves, chiasm and brainstem. Adjuvant or additional radiation therapy is very important for the improvement of local control rates in the primary treatment. Proton therapy is the gold standard in the treatment of skull base chondrosarcomas. However, high-LET (linear energy transfer) beams such as carbon ions theoretically offer advantages by enhanced biologic effectiveness in slow-growing tumours.
Methods/Design
The study is a prospective randomised active-controlled clinical phase III trial. The trial will be carried out at Heidelberger Ionenstrahl-Therapie (HIT) centre as monocentric trial.
Patients with skull base chondrosarcomas will be randomised to either proton or carbon ion radiation therapy. As a standard, patients will undergo non-invasive, rigid immobilization and target volume definition will be carried out based on CT and MRI data. The biologically isoeffective target dose to the PTV (planning target volume) in carbon ion treatment will be 60 Gy E ± 5% and 70 Gy E ± 5% (standard dose) in proton therapy respectively. The 5 year local-progression free survival (LPFS) rate will be analysed as primary end point. Overall survival, progression free and metastasis free survival, patterns of recurrence, local control rate and morbidity are the secondary end points.
Discussion
Up to now it was impossible to compare two different particle therapies, i.e. protons and carbon ions, directly at the same facility in connection with the treatment of low grade skull base chondrosarcomas.
This trial is a phase III study to demonstrate that carbon ion radiotherapy (experimental treatment) is not relevantly inferior and at least as good as proton radiotherapy (standard treatment) with respect to 5 year LPFS in the treatment of chondrosarcomas. Additionally, we expect less toxicity in the carbon ion treatment arm.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01182753
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-606
PMCID: PMC2991309  PMID: 21050498
8.  Randomised phase I/II study to evaluate carbon ion radiotherapy versus fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy in patients with recurrent or progressive gliomas: The CINDERELLA trial 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:533.
Background
Treatment of patients with recurrent glioma includes neurosurgical resection, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. In most cases, a full course of radiotherapy has been applied after primary diagnosis, therefore application of re-irradiation has to be applied cauteously. With modern precision photon techniques such as fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT), a second course of radiotherapy is safe and effective and leads to survival times of 22, 16 and 8 months for recurrent WHO grade II, III and IV gliomas.
Carbon ions offer physical and biological characteristics. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increased relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 2 and 5 depending on the GBM cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed. Protons, however, offer an RBE which is comparable to photons.
First Japanese Data on the evaluation of carbon ion radiation therapy for the treatment of primary high-grade gliomas showed promising results in a small and heterogeneous patient collective.
Methods Design
In the current Phase I/II-CINDERELLA-trial re-irradiation using carbon ions will be compared to FSRT applied to the area of contrast enhancement representing high-grade tumor areas in patients with recurrent gliomas. Within the Phase I Part of the trial, the Recommended Dose (RD) of carbon ion radiotherapy will be determined in a dose escalation scheme. In the subsequent randomized Phase II part, the RD will be evaluated in the experimental arm, compared to the standard arm, FSRT with a total dose of 36 Gy in single doses of 2 Gy.
Primary endpoint of the Phase I part is toxicity. Primary endpoint of the randomized part II is survival after re-irradiation at 12 months, secondary endpoint is progression-free survival.
Discussion
The Cinderella trial is the first study to evaluate carbon ion radiotherapy for recurrent gliomas, and to compare this treatment to photon FSRT in a randomized setting using an ion beam delivered by intensity modulated rasterscanning.
Trial Registration
NCT01166308
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-533
PMCID: PMC2958944  PMID: 20925951
9.  Randomized phase II study evaluating a carbon ion boost applied after combined radiochemotherapy with temozolomide versus a proton boost after radiochemotherapy with temozolomide in patients with primary glioblastoma: The CLEOPATRA Trial 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:478.
Background
Treatment standard for patients with primary glioblastoma (GBM) is combined radiochemotherapy with temozolomide (TMZ). Radiation is delivered up to a total dose of 60 Gy using photons. Using this treatment regimen, overall survival could be extended significantly however, median overall survival is still only about 15 months.
Carbon ions offer physical and biological advantages. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increase relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 2 and 5 depending on the GBM cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed. Protons, however, offer an RBE which is comparable to photons.
First Japanese Data on the evaluation of carbon ion radiation therapy showed promising results in a small and heterogeneous patient collective.
Methods/Design
In the current Phase II-CLEOPATRA-Study a carbon ion boost will be compared to a proton boost applied to the macroscopic tumor after surgery at primary diagnosis in patients with GBM applied after standard radiochemotherapy with TMZ up to 50 Gy. In the experimental arm, a carbon ion boost will be applied to the macroscopic tumor up to a total dose of 18 Gy E in 6 fractions at a single dose of 3 Gy E. In the standard arm, a proton boost will be applied up to a total dose 10 Gy E in 5 single fractions of 2 Gy E.
Primary endpoint is overall survival, secondary objectives are progression-free survival, toxicity and safety.
Discussion
The Cleopatra Trial is the first study to evaluate the effect of carbon ion radiotherapy within multimodality treatment of primary glioblastoma in a randomized trial comparing this innovative treatment of the treatment standard, consisitng of photon radiotherapy in combination with temozolomide.
Trial Registration
ISRCTN37428883 and NCT01165671
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-478
PMCID: PMC2944178  PMID: 20819220
10.  Outcome and prognostic factors of desmoplastic medulloblastoma treated within a multidisciplinary treatment concept 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:450.
Background
Desmoplasia in medulloblastoma is often diagnosed in adult patients and was repeatedly associated with improved results. Today, all medulloblastoma patients receive intensive multimodal treatment including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This study was set up to investigate treatment outcome and prognostic factors after radiation therapy in patients with desmoplastic medulloblastomas.
Methods
Twenty patients treated for desmoplastic medulloblastoma in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Heidelberg between 1984 and 2007 were included. Data were collected retrospectively. Tumor resection was performed in all patients. All patients underwent postsurgical radiotherapy (RT). Two patients underwent whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT), and 18 patients received craniospinal irradiation (CSI). In all patients, an additional boost was delivered to the posterior fossa. The median dose to the whole brain and the craniospinal axis was 35.2 Gray (Gy), and 54.4 Gy to the posterior fossa. Fourteen patients received chemotherapy, including seven who were treated with combined radiochemotherapy and twelve who received adjuvant chemotherapy. Statistical analysis was performed using the log-rank test and the Kaplan-Meier method.
Results
Median follow-up was 59 months. Overall (OS), local (LPFS) and distant progression-free survival (DPFS) was 80%, 71.2%, and 83.3% at 60 months. Patients who suffered from local or distant relapses had significantly worse outcome. Five patients died from recurrent medulloblastoma. Treatment-associated toxicity was acceptable.
Conclusions
Multimodal approaches with surgical resection followed by chemoirradiation achieved high response rates with long OS in desmoplastic medulloblastoma patients. Staging parameters expected to predict for poor prognosis did not significantly influence outcome. However, success of any first line regimen had strong impact on disease control, and remission was achieved in no patient with relapsing disease. Multimodal concepts must be evaluated in further clinical trials.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-450
PMCID: PMC2939548  PMID: 20731859
11.  Non-randomized therapy trial to determine the safety and efficacy of heavy ion radiotherapy in patients with non-resectable osteosarcoma 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:96.
Background
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignant bone tumor in children and adolescents. For effective treatment, local control of the tumor is absolutely critical, because the chances of long term survival are <10% and might effectively approach zero if a complete surgical resection of the tumor is not possible. Up to date there is no curative treatment protocol for patients with non-resectable osteosarcomas, who are excluded from current osteosarcoma trials, e.g. EURAMOS1. Local photon radiotherapy has previously been used in small series and in an uncontrolled, highly individualized fashion, which, however, documented that high dose radiotherapy can, in principle, be used to achieve local control. Generally the radiation dose that is necessary for a curative approach can hardly be achieved with conventional photon radiotherapy in patients with non-resectable tumors that are usually located near radiosensitive critical organs such as the brain, the spine or the pelvis. In these cases particle Radiotherapy (proton therapy (PT)/heavy ion therapy (HIT) may offer a promising new alternative. Moreover, compared with photons, heavy ion beams provide a higher physical selectivity because of their finite depth coverage in tissue. They achieve a higher relative biological effectiveness. Phase I/II dose escalation studies of HIT in adults with non-resectable bone and soft tissue sarcomas have already shown favorable results.
Methods/Design
This is a monocenter, single-arm study for patients ≥ 6 years of age with non-resectable osteosarcoma. Desired target dose is 60-66 Cobalt Gray Equivalent (Gy E) with 45 Gy PT (proton therapy) and a carbon ion boost of 15-21 GyE. Weekly fractionation of 5-6 × 3 Gy E is used. PT/HIT will be administered exclusively at the Ion Radiotherapy Center in Heidelberg. Furthermore, FDG-PET imaging characteristics of non-resectable osteosarcoma before and after PT/HIT will be investigated prospectively. Systemic disease before and after PT/HIT is targeted by standard chemotherapy protocols and is not part of this trial.
Discussion
The primary objectives of this trial are the determination of feasibility and toxicity of HIT. Secondary objectives are tumor response, disease free survival and overall survival. The aim is to improve outcome for patients with non-resectable osteosarcoma.
Trail Registration
Registration number (ClinicalTrials.gov): NCT01005043
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-96
PMCID: PMC2846886  PMID: 20226028
12.  Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) and Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy (FSRT) for children with head-and-neck-rhabdomyosarcoma 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:177.
Background
The present study evaluates the outcome of 19 children with rhabdomyosarcoma of the head-and-neck region treated with Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) or Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy (FSRT) between August 1995 and November 2005.
Methods
We treated 19 children with head-and-neck rhabdomyosarcoma with FSRT (n = 14) or IMRT (n = 5) as a part of multimodal therapy. Median age at the time of radiation therapy was 5 years (range 2–15 years). All children received systemic chemotherapy according to the German Soft Tissue Sarcoma Study protocols.
Median size of treatment volume for RT was 93,4 ml. We applied a median total dose of 45 Gy (range 32 Gy – 54 Gy) using a median fractionation of 5 × 1,8 Gy/week (range 1,6 Gy – 1,8 Gy).
The median time interval between primary diagnosis and radiation therapy was 5 months (range 3–9 months).
Results
After RT, the 3- and 5-year survival rate was 94%. The 3- and 5-year actuarial local control rate after RT was 89%.
The actuarial freedom of distant metastases rate at 3- and 5-years was 89% for all patients.
Radiotherapy was well tolerated in all children and could be completed without interruptions > 4 days. No toxicities >CTC grade 2 were observed. The median follow-up time after RT was 17 months.
Conclusion
IMRT and FSRT lead to excellent outcome in children with head-and-neck RMS with a low incidence of treatment-related side effects.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-177
PMCID: PMC2077337  PMID: 17854490
13.  Radiotherapeutic alternatives for previously irradiated recurrent gliomas 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:167.
Re-irradiation for recurrent gliomas has been discussed controversially in the past. This was mainly due to only marginal palliation while being associated with a high risk for side effects using conventional radiotherapy.
With modern high-precision radiotherapy re-irradiation has become a more wide-spread, effective and well-tolerated treatment option. Besides external beam radiotherapy, a number of invasive and/or intraoperative radiation techniques have been evaluated in patients with recurrent gliomas.
The present article is a review on the available methods in radiation oncology and summarizes results with respect to outcome and side effects in comparison to clinical results after neurosurgical resection or different chemotherapeutic approaches.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-167
PMCID: PMC2212655  PMID: 17760992
14.  Local radiotherapeutic management of ependymomas with fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT) 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:222.
Background
To assess the role of Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy (FSRT) in the management of ependymomas.
Methods
From January 1992 to July 2003, FSRT was performed in 19 patients with histologically confirmed ependymomas. The median age was 15 years, 5 patients were younger than 4 years of age.
Twelve patients received FSRT as primary postoperative radiotherapy after surgical resection. In 6 patients irradiation of the posterior fossa was performed with a local boost to the tumor bed, and in 4 patients the tumor bed only was irradiated. In 7 patients FSRT was performed as re-irradiation for tumor progression. This patient group was analyzed separately. A median dose of 54 Gy was prescribed in a median fractionation of 5 × 1.8 Gy per week for primary RT using 6 MeV photons with a linear accelerator. For FSRT as re-irradiation, a median dose of 36 Gy was applied. All recurrent tumors were localized within the former RT-field.
Results
The 5- and 10-year overall survival rates were 77% and 64%, respectively. Patients treated with FSRT for primary irradiation showed an overall survival of 100% and 78% at 3 and 5 years after irradiation of the posterior fossa with a boost to the tumor bed, and a survival rate of 100% at 5 years with RT of the tumor bed only. After re-irradiation with FSRT, survival rates of 83% and 50% at 3-and 5 years, respectively, were obtained.
Progression-free survival rates after primary RT as compared to re-irradiation were 64% and 60% at 5 years, respectively.
FSRT was well tolerated by all patients and could be completed without interruptions due to side effects. No severe treatment related toxicity > CTC grade 2 for patients treated with FSRT could be observed.
Conclusion
The present analysis shows that FSRT is well tolerated and highly effective in the management of ependymal tumors. The rate of recurrences, especially at the field border, is not increased as compared to conventional radiotherapy consisting of craniospinal irradiation and a local boost to the posterior fossa.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-222
PMCID: PMC1584252  PMID: 16959039
15.  Treatment of primary glioblastoma multiforme with cetuximab, radiotherapy and temozolomide (GERT) – phase I/II trial: study protocol 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:133.
Background
The implementation of combined radiochemotherapy (RCHT) with temozolomide (TMZ) has lead to a significant increase in overall survival times in patients with Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), however, outcome still remains unsatisfactory.
The majority of GBMs show an overexpression and/or amplification of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Therefore, addition of EGFR-inhibition with cetuximab to the current standard treatment approach with radiotherapy and TMZ seems promising.
Methods/design
GERT is a one-armed single-center phase I/II trial. In a first step, dose-escalation of TMZ from 50 mg/m2 to 75 mg/m2 together with radiotherapy and cetuximab will be performed. Should safety be proven, the phase II trial will be initiated with the standard dose of 75 mg/m2 of TMZ. Cetuximab will be applied in the standard application dose of 400 mg/m2 in week 1, thereafter at a dose of 250 mg/m2 weekly. A total of 46 patients will be included into this phase I/II trial.
Primary endpoints are feasibility and toxicity, secondary endpoints are overall and progression-free survival. An interim analysis will be performed after inclusion of 15 patients into the main study. Patients' enrolment will be performed over a period of 2 years. The observation time will end 2 years after inclusion of the last patient.
Discussion
The goal of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of combined RCHT-immunotherapy with TMZ and cetuximab as first-line treatment for patients with primary GBM.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-133
PMCID: PMC1524973  PMID: 16709245

Results 1-15 (15)