Stereotactically guided conformal radiotherapy for progressive low-grade gliomas of childhood

Frank H. Saran, Brigitta G. Baumert, Vincent S. Khoo, Elizabeth J. Adams, Maria L. Garré, Alan P. Warrington, Michael Brada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To describe the rationale, technique, and early results of stereotactically guided conformal radiotherapy (SCRT) in the treatment of progressive or inoperable low-grade gliomas (LGGs) of childhood. Methods and Materials: Between September 1994 and May 1999, 14 children (median age 6 years, range 5-16) with LGG were treated with SCRT at the Royal Marsden NHS Trust. Tumors were located at the optic chiasm (n = 9), third ventricle (n = 2), hypothalamus, craniocervical junction, and pineal region (each n = 1). Four patients received chemotherapy before SCRT. Immobilization was in a Gill-Thomas-Cosman frame (n = 12) and subsequently in a specially designed pediatric version of the frame (n = 2). Stereotactic coordinates and the tumor were defined by CT scanning with a fiducial system and MRI fusion. The median tumor volume was 19.5 cm 3 (range 7.5-180). The planning target volume was defined as the area of enhancing tumor plus a 5-10-mm margin. The treatment technique consisted of 4 isocentric, noncoplanar, conformal, fixed fields. Treatment was delivered in 30-33 daily fractions to a total dose of 50-55 Gy. Results: SCRT was well tolerated, with transient hair loss the only acute toxicity. The median follow-up was 33 months (range 2-53). At 6 months after SCRT, 4 of 12 children with neurologic deficits improved and 5 remained stable. Twelve children were available for MRI evaluation. Two had a complete response, 6 a partial response, and 4 stable disease. One child with optic chiasm glioma had local progression at 25 months, and 1 developed diffuse leptomeningeal disease without local progression at 27 months. The 3-year local progression-free survival and overall survival rate after SCRT was 87% and 100%, respectively, compared with 89% and 98% for an historic control treated with conventional RT. New endocrine deficiencies were noted in 2 children after a follow-up of 20 and 23 months. Conclusion: SCRT is a feasible, high-precision technique of RT for children with LGGs for whom RT is considered appropriate. The local control and acute toxicity of SCRT are comparable to a historic control of patients with conventionally delivered RT. The frequency of delayed hypothalamic-pituitary axis dysfunction reflects tumor location adjacent to the hypothalamus and pituitary. Additional follow-up is required to demonstrate that SCRT contributes to a reduction in treatment-related late toxicity, while maintaining the local control achieved with conventionally delivered RT in children with progressive LGGs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2002


  • Low-grade gliomas
  • Pediatric malignancy
  • Stereotactically guided conformal radiotherapy
  • Three-dimensional planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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