Medulloblastoma subgroup-specific outcomes in irradiated children: who are the true high-risk patients?

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Abstract

Background

The advent of integrated genomics has fundamentally changed our understanding of medulloblastoma. Although survival differences exist among the 4 principal subgroups, this has yet to be elucidated in a North American cohort of irradiated patients.

Methods

Ninety-two consecutive patients between the ages of 3 and 17 treated with surgery, craniospinal irradiation, and chemotherapy were identified at the Hospital for Sick Children. Molecular subgrouping was performed using nanoString.

Results

Two treatment periods were identified: prior to 2006 as per the protocols of the Children's Oncology Group, and after 2006 per the St Jude Medulloblastoma 03 protocol. Five-year progression-free survival (PFS) over the entire cohort was 0.801 (95% CI: 0.692–0.875) with no significant difference between treatment protocols. Strikingly, we found that Group 4 patients had excellent 5-year PFS of 0.959 (95% CI: 0.744–0.994) for average risk and 0.887 (95% CI: 0.727–0.956) across all Group 4 patients. Group 3 patients had 5-year PFS of 0.733 (95% CI: 0.436–0.891). Sonic hedgehog patients did poorly across both treatment protocols, with 5-year PFS of 0.613 (95% CI: 0.333–0.804), likely owing to a high proportion of TP53 mutated patients in this age group.

Conclusions

In a cohort of irradiated patients over 3 years of age, PFS for Group 4 patients was significantly improved compared with initial reports. The impact of subgroup affiliation in these children needs to be assessed in large prospectively treated cooperative protocols to determine if more than just WNT patients can be safely selected for de-escalation of therapy.

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