Chemotherapy for spinal cord astrocytoma: can natural history be modified?

Standard treatment of spinal cord astrocytomas is based upon surgery, followed by radiotherapy when resection is incomplete or when histology is of high grade. Owing to the major consequences of radiotherapy on the spine in childhood, alternative therapies must be explored. The potential role of chemotherapy in the management of spinal cord astrocytoma remains to be defined. Two patients are described. The first was a 19-month-old child with an anaplastic astrocytoma of the cervical spinal cord that progressed rapidly after initial partial resection. Chemotherapy was begun according to the UKCCSG Baby Brain Protocol, with marked clinical improvement. Reassessment by MRI at 4 months showed improvement, and at the end of treatment no evaluable disease remained. The second was a 4-year-old child with a recurrent low-grade astrocytoma. Chemotherapy according to the SIOP Protocol for Low Grade Gliomas was administered for 3 months, after which marked tumour regression was seen, with neurological recovery. These patients demonstrate the potential value and low morbidity of chemotherapy in spinal cord astrocytoma. The management of this rare tumour is discussed.
AuthorsS P Lowis, B L Pizer, H Coakham, R J Nelson, E Bouffet
JournalChild's nervous system : ChNS : official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (Childs Nerv Syst) Vol. 14 Issue 7 Pg. 317-21 (Jul 1998) ISSN: 0256-7040 [Print] GERMANY
PMID9726582 (Publication Type: Case Reports, Journal Article)
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols (therapeutic use)
  • Astrocytoma (diagnosis, drug therapy, surgery)
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma (diagnosis, drug therapy, surgery)
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local (diagnosis, drug therapy)
  • Postoperative Period
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms (diagnosis, drug therapy, surgery)

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