Efficacy of postoperative chemotherapy using cisplatin plus etoposide in young children with brain tumors

Lewis C. Strauss, Thomas M. Killmond, Benjamin S. Carson, Bernard L. Maria, Moody D. Wharam, Brigid G. Leventhal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuraxis radiation therapy (RT) for primary intracranial tumors is associated with major late effects if administered to very young children. To control residual tumor and to delay RT, we treated eight young children (median age 6.5 months) with primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors using combination chemotherapy: cisplatin, 20 mg/M2/day plus VP‐16, 75 mg/M2/day i.v. for 5 days, given q. 3–6 weeks for 8 cycles. The tumors were medulloblastoma (one), malignant ependymoma (two), primitive neuroectodermal tumor PNET (two), malignant glioma (two), astrocytoma (one). Six had measureable disease; three had positive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytopathology. All patients with measureable tumor had initial objective responses (three) complete response [CR], one partial response [PR], two minor response [MR], including cytopathology (three CR of three) and metastatic deposits (two CR of two). One patient relapsed during chemotherapy. Median time to disease progression was 17.5 months; median survival was 34 months. Three patients, none of whom received RT, have prolonged progression‐free intervals of 47–67 months to date. Neurodevelopmental progress continued during and after chemotherapy. Chemotherapy toxicity was mild. Median neutrophil nadir was 312/mm3, platelets 72,000. Fever during neutropenia occurred in six of 61 courses. Moderate high‐frequency auditory losses were detected in three patients, and mild renal injury (GFR <70 ml/min) was detected in two of seven evaluable children. This pilot study demonstrates the apparent efficacy and mild toxicity of 5 day courses of cisplatin plus VP‐16, with delayed RT, in young children with CNS neoplasms. A POG treatment protocol that incorporates cisplatin plus VP‐16 is evaluating primary chemotherapy with delayed radiotherapy in larger numbers of pediatric brain tumor patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-21
Number of pages6
JournalMedical and Pediatric Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991


  • neuraxis radiation therapy
  • radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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