Sequential chemotherapy, high-dose thiotepa, circulating progenitor cell rescue, and radiotherapy for childhood high-grade glioma

Maura Massimino, Lorenza Gandola, Roberto Luksch, Filippo Spreafico, Daria Riva, Carlo Solero, Felice Giangaspero, Franco Locatelli, Marta Podda, Fabio Bozzi, Emanuele Pignoli, Paola Collini, Graziella Cefalo, Marco Zecca, Michela Casanova, Andrea Ferrari, Monica Terenziani, Cristina Meazza, Daniela Polastri, Davide ScaramuzzaFernando Ravagnani, Franca Fossati-Bellani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Childhood malignant gliomas are rare, but their clinical behavior is almost as aggressive as in adults, with resistance to therapy, rapid progression, and not uncommonly, dissemination. Our study protocol incorporated sequential chemotherapy and high-dose thiotepa in the preradiant phase, followed by focal radiotherapy and maintenance with vincristine and lomustine for a total duration of one year. The induction treatment consisted of two courses of cisplatin (30 mg/m2) plus etoposide (150 mg/m2) × 3 days and of vincristine (1.4 mg/m2) plus cyclophosphamide (1.5 g/m2) plus high-dose methotrexate (8 g/m2), followed by high-dose thiotepa (300 mg/m2 × 3 doses), with harvesting of peripheral blood progenitor cells after the first cisplatin/etoposide course. From August 1996 to March 2003, 21 children, 14 females and 7 males, with a median age of 10 years were enrolled, 18 presenting with residual disease after surgery. Histologies were glioblastoma multiforme in 10, anaplastic astrocytoma in nine, and anaplastic oligodendroglioma in two; sites of origin were supratentorial areas in 17, spine in two, and posterior fossa in two. Of the 21 patients, 12 have died (10 after relapse, with a median time to progression for the whole series of 14 months; one with intratumoral bleeding at 40 months after diagnosis; and one affected by Turcot syndrome for duodenal cancer relapse). Four of 12 relapsed children had tumor dissemination. At a median follow-up of 57 months, overall survival and progression-free survival at four years were 43% and 46%, respectively. Sequential and high-dose chemotherapy can be afforded in front-line therapy of childhood malignant glioma without excessive morbidity and rather encouraging results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology


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