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Preirradiation chemotherapy for very young children with brain tumors

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Standard management of malignant brain tumors includes either surgical resection alone or surgery followed by irradiation. However, neuroaxis irradiation administered to very young children for primary intracranial tumors is often associated with major late side effects. To delay irradiation and evaluate the efficacy of preirradiation chemotherapy, we treated 9 young children (aged less than 3 years), who had newly diagnosed brain tumors and underwent total or subtotal resection, with a combination of chemotherapy including vinblastine, cisplatin, and etoposide every 3–4 weeks for 6–14 courses between 1988 and 1992. There were malignat gliomas in four patients, medulloblastomas in three, and ependymomas in two. A response to preirradiation chemotherapy (complete remission or partial remission) occurred in seven out of nine cases. Only one patient had progressive disease during the chemotherapy period. Preirradiation chemotherapy with vinblastine, cisplatin, and etoposide might be a highly effective combination allowing delay of radiation therapy in very young children with brain tumors. Acute and subacute toxicity of chemotherapy in this study was mild.

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Jeng, M., Chang, T., Wong, T. et al. Preirradiation chemotherapy for very young children with brain tumors. Child's Nerv Syst 9, 150–153 (1993).

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Key words

  • Brain tumor
  • Neuroaxis radiation
  • Chemotherapy