Radiotherapy after high-dose chemotherapy with autologous hematopoietic cell rescue: Quality assessment of Head Start III

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Abstract

Background

The use of high-dose chemotherapy with autologous hematopoietic cell rescue (AuHCR) in Head Start III is a potentially curative approach for the management of young children with central nervous system neoplasms. We report the potential influence of quality and timing of radiation therapy on the survival of patients treated on the study.

Procedure

Between 2003 and 2009, 220 children with newly diagnosed central nervous system neoplasms were enrolled on the study. Radiation therapy was indicated following AuHCR for children between 6 and 10 years old or those younger than 6 years with residual tumor preconsolidation. Records were received for 42 patients and reviewed to determine adherence to protocol treatment volume and dose guidelines. Of these patients, seven were irradiated prior to consolidation, and additional four patients who initially avoided radiation therapy after AuHCR were subsequently treated at relapse.

Results

Of the 31 patients who were fully evaluable, 2 refused radiation therapy until recurrence and 4 progressed between recovery from AuHCR and radiation therapy. Of the remaining 25 patients, 8 had violations in their indication, dose, or treatment volume. All violations occurred in patients under 6 years of age. Two patients could have avoided radiation therapy. There were 6 violations in the 23 patients who received radiation therapy for guideline indications.

Conclusion

All protocol violations occurred in patients under 6 years of age and were associated with decreased overall survival as was the time to start radiotherapy of greater than 11 weeks. When indicated, starting radiation therapy soon after neutrophil and platelet recovery may improve the outcome for these high-risk children.

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