Background: A retrospective analysis was made to clarify the relationship between prognosis, radiation dose and survival of brain stem gliomas. Methods: From 1983 to 1995, 22 children with brain stem tumors were treated by radiotherapy in the Veterans General Hospital-Taipei. Twelve patients had pathology proof and the remainder were diagnosed by computerized tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging. Seven patients had postoperative radiotherapy. Fifteen patients had radiotherapy as primary management, five of whom had adjuvant chemotherapy. All patients received 4000-7060 cGy, either in conventional daily or hyperfractionated twice daily radiotherapy. Survival from date of diagnosis was calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method. Univariate analyses and multivariate analyses were calculated by the log rank test and the Cox proportional hazard model, respectively. Results: Most patients showed improvement following treatment. The overall 2-year survival rate was 55.5% with a median survival of 27.1 months. Two-year survival for patients with primary management of operation and radiotherapy (n = 7), radiotherapy alone (n = 10) and radiotherapy with adjuvant chemotherapy (n = 5) were 66.7, 50 and 53.3%, respectively. In univariate analysis, the study revealed that the growth pattern of tumors and the simultaneous presence of cranial neuropathy and long tract sign were significant prognostic factors (P= 0.017 and 0.036). A trend of better outcome with radiation dose > 6600 cGy and the hyperfractionation scheme was also noted in our study (P= 0.0573 and 0.0615). However, only the hyperfractionation scheme showed significance in multivariate analyses (P= 0.0355). Survival was not significantly affected by age, gender or method of diagnosis. Conclusion: Radiotherapy appears to be an effective treatment modality of brain stem tumors. Patients with both cranial neuropathy and long tract signs had a poorer outcome. Hyperfractionated radiotherapy may give better local control and lead to better survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas