Challenges in the management of childhood low-grade glioma in a developing country
Treatment modality impacts outcome of childhood low-grade glioma (LGG). Optimizing management in developing countries can be challenging. This study evaluates the clinical characteristics, treatment, and factors influencing outcome of childhood LGG in Saudi Arabia.
Patients and methods
This study retrospectively evaluated 59 children consecutively diagnosed with LGG between January 2001 and June 2016.
Median age at diagnosis was 6.0 years. Pilocytic astrocytoma represented 64.9% of cases. The anatomic site was cerebellar in 23.7%, cerebral in 18.6%, hypothalamic-optic pathway in 33.9%, and midline in 23.7%. The 5-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were 90.6 ± 4.7 and 54.3 ± 8.4%, respectively. Initial treatment was observation in 28.8%, surgery alone in 35.6%, chemotherapy in 13.6%, radiotherapy in 5.1%, and combined in 16.9% of cases. The corresponding 5-year PFS was 56.3 ± 15.6, 53.3 ± 14.0, 22.9 ± 19.7, 33.3 ± 27.2, and 88.9 ± 10.5%, respectively (p = 0.006). Among the 61% who had surgical intervention (either alone or in combination with other therapies), 22% achieved complete resection with 5-year radiation/progression-free survival (RPFS) of 87.5 ± 11.7% compared to 27.6 ± 10.8% for subtotal resection/biopsy and 62.2 ± 17.0% for no surgery (p = 0.013). Adjuvant therapy for residual tumor improved survival with 5-year PFS of 66.7 ± 19.2% for chemotherapy and 100% for radiotherapy compared to 12.5 ± 11.4% for observation (p = 0.033).
We identified variability in the outcomes of LGG. Fewer surgeries with lower rates of total resection were noted, compared to reports from international cooperative groups. The extent of resection was predictive of RPFS. Adjuvant therapy improved the outcome of patients with residual disease, resulting in PFS rates comparable to international data.
KeywordsLGG Children Outcome Surgery Developing countries
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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