To report prospective evaluations of activities of daily living (ADL) in young patients with low-grade gliomas treated with stereotactic conformal radiotherapy (SCRT).Materials and methods
Between April 2001 and February 2008, 38 children and young adults (age 5–25 years, median 12.5 years) with low-grade gliomas with residual/progressive disease and treated with SCRT were accrued in a prospective protocol. Patients underwent baseline and follow-up ADL assessments by the modified Barthel's battery, which comprises domains of personal hygiene, bathing self, feeding, toilet, stair climbing, dressing, bowel control, bladder control, ambulation, and chair-bed transfer.Result
The patient population consisted of 38 patients (male 29, female 9) with a diagnosis of residual or progressive low-grade glioma (pilocytic astrocytoma in 27, fibrillary astrocytoma in 5, ependymoma in 4, and oligodendroglioma and pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma in 1 each). Three patients were visually handicapped. Mean of total modified Barthel's ADL score (Barthel' Index, BI) at baseline before staring SCRT was 94.5 (standard deviation 14.8, range 45–100). At 2-year and 3-year follow-up, mean BI was 97.1 and 99, respectively. At baseline pre-radiotherapy assessment, patients with impaired visual function and with low performance status (Karnofsky performance score, KPS < 70) had significantly lower BI than those with normal vision (P ≤ 0.001) and with good performance status (P = 0.001). On follow-up, maximum improvement in individual BI was seen in the ambulation-related domain in patients with impaired visual function (P = 0.027), low KPS (P = 0.015), and age less than 13 years (P = 0.103). The mean pre-radiotherapy baseline BI of three patients, who eventually developed local recurrence, was only 64 (SD 32.1) as compared with a baseline score of 97.18 seen in patients whose tumor remained controlled at follow-up (P ≤ 0.001).Conclusions
Young patients with low-grade gliomas after surgical intervention had a lower than normal BI before starting radiotherapy, suggesting a decrease in ADL possibly due to tumor- and surgery-related factors. At 2-year and 3-year follow-up after SCRT, there was no further decrease in mean BI. A significant improvement in BI was seen in visually handicapped patients, patients with poor performance status, and younger patients. Patients who developed tumor recurrence at follow-up had a significantly lower BI at baseline than patients with controlled disease (P ≤ 0.001).