Intracranial ependymoma treatment
The low prevalence of intracranial ependymoma in adults limits the ability to perform clinical trials. Therefore, treatment decisions are based on small, mostly retrospective studies and the role of chemotherapy has remained unclear.
Adjuvant radiotherapy is often delivered to improve long-term disease control. Over the years, radiation treatment for ependymoma has evolved from cranio spinal radiation (CSI) 3) 4) to focal radiation 5) 6)
The major consensus was reached that treatment decisions for ependymoma (outside of clinical trials) should not be based on grading (II vs III). Supratentorial and posterior fossa ependymomas are distinct diseases, although the impact on therapy is still evolving. Molecular subgrouping should be part of all clinical trials henceforth 7).
Seven centers participating in the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation identified 89 intracranial ependymoma patients who underwent SRS (113 tumors). The median patient age was 16.3 yr (2.9-80). All patients underwent previous surgical resection and radiation therapy (RT) of their ependymomas and 40 underwent previous chemotherapy. Grade 2 ependymomas were present in 42 patients (52 tumors) and grade 3 ependymomas in 48 patients (61 tumors). The median tumor volume was 2.2 cc (0.03-36.8) and the median margin dose was 15 Gy (9-24).
Forty-seven (53%) patients were alive and 42 (47%) patients died at the last follow-up. The overall survival after SRS was 86% at 1 yr, 50% at 3 yr, and 44% at 5 yr. Smaller total tumor volume was associated with longer overall survival (P = .006). Twenty-two patients (grade 2: n = 9, grade 3: n = 13) developed additional recurrent ependymomas in the craniospinal axis. The progression-free survival after SRS was 71% at 1 yr, 56% at 3 yr, and 48% at 5 yr. Adult age, female sex, and smaller tumor volume indicated significantly better progression-free survival. Symptomatic adverse radiation effects were seen in 7 patients (8%).
SRS provides another management option for residual or recurrent progressive intracranial ependymoma patients who have failed initial surgery and RT 8).