Efficacy of Stereotactic Conformal Radiotherapy vs Conventional Radiotherapy on Benign and Low-Grade Brain Tumors: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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ImportanceEvidence for application of stereotactic and other conformal radiotherapy techniques in treating brain tumors is largely based on data derived from dosimetric, retrospective, or small prospective studies. Therefore, we conducted a randomized clinical trial of stereotactic conformal radiotherapy (SCRT) compared with conventional radiotherapy (ConvRT) evaluating clinically meaningful end points.ObjectiveTo compare neurocognitive and endocrine functional outcomes and survival at 5 years in young patients with residual and/or progressive benign or low-grade brain tumors treated with SCRT and ConvRT techniques.Design, Setting, and ParticipantsThis phase 3 randomized clinical trial enrolled 200 young patients (ages 3-25 years) with residual or progressive benign or low-grade brain tumors at a single center between April 2001 to March 2012. Patients were randomly allocated (1:1) to either SCRT (n = 104) or ConvRT (n = 96) arms.InterventionsPatients were randomly assigned to either high-precision SCRT or ConvRT to a dose of 54 Gy in 30 fractions over 6 weeks.Main Outcomes and MeasuresDetailed neuropsychological and neuroendocrine assessments were performed at preradiotherapy baseline, at 6 months, and annually thereafter until 5 years on longitudinal follow-up. Change in these functional parameters was compared between the 2 arms as the primary end point and overall survival (OS) as the secondary end point.ResultsIn total, 200 young patients (median [interquartile range] age, 13 [9-17] years; 133 males and 67 females) were enrolled. Mean full-scale or global intelligence quotient (IQ) and performance IQ scores over a period of 5 years were significantly superior in patients treated with SCRT compared with those treated with ConvRT (difference in slope = 1.48; P = .04 vs difference in slope = 1.64; P = .046, respectively). Cumulative incidence of developing new neuroendocrine dysfunction at 5 years was significantly lower in patients treated with SCRT compared with ConvRT (31% vs 51%; P = .01) while developing a new neuroendocrine axis dysfunction in patients with preexisting dysfunction in at least 1 axis at baseline was also significantly lower in the SCRT arm compared with the ConvRT arm (29% vs 52%; P = .02). Five-year OS in SCRT and ConvRT arms was 86% and 91%, respectively (P = .54).Conclusions and RelevanceIn young patients with residual and/or progressive benign or low-grade brain tumors requiring radiotherapy for long-term tumor control, SCRT compared with ConvRT achieves superior neurocognitive and neuroendocrine functional outcomes over 5 years without compromising survival.Trial Registrationclinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00517959

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