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Postoperative radiation can triple survival in children with brain cancer

Published on 06/03/19 at 10:50am

Radiation immediately following surgery in children with the third most common form of paediatric brain tumour, ependymoma, can triple survival, new research, led by Thomas E. Merchant, D.O., Ph.D., of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, shows.

“Historically, children under the age of 3 with ependymoma have a worse prognosis than older children,” Merchant said. “However, results from this clinical trial show that even in young children, survival can be improved when radiation is administered immediately after surgery.”

The phase 2 clinical trial enrolled nearly 400 patients across 100 different locations. Participants ranged from one to 21 years of age. The trial was the first to give immediate postoperative radiation to children with ependymoma under the age of three.

Results show that postoperative radiation can help achieve seven-year progression-free survival for more than 75 percent of patients, and overall survival for 85 percent of patients.

These results are already shifting the standard of care for patients with ependymoma because the clinical trial used standard conformal radiation, which is widely available," said Dr Maryam Fouladi, chair of the COG Central Nervous System Committee.

Louis Goss

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