The results of radiotherapy for brainstem tumors

Steven E. Schild, Scott L. Stafford, Paul D. Brown, Chris P. Wood, Bernd W. Scheithauer, Paula J. Schomberg, William W. Wong, Mark K. Lyons, Edward G. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: This analysis was performed to examine the outcome of adult and pediatric patients with brainstem tumors. Methods and materials: Forty patients with brainstem glioma were evaluated retrospectively. Included were 24 females and 16 males ranging in age from 3 to 81 years (median, 29.5 years). These patients were treated with various combinations of surgery, chemotherapy, and ratiotherapy (RT). The length of follow-up in survivors ranged from 0.6 to 20 years (median: 3.2 years, mean: 6 years). Survival rates were calculated with the Kaplan Meier method and differences between survival curves were calculated using the log-rank test. Results: The overall 2 and 5-year survival rates were 44% and 34%, respectively. The median survival time was 19 months. The 5-year survival rate was 54% for patients with tumors outside the pens compared to 21% for those with tumors involving the pons (p = 0.04). The 5-year survival rate was 59% for patients with exophytic tumors as compared to 23% for those with intrinsic tumors (p = 0.05). Patients undergoing subtotal resection had a 5-year survival rate of 53% compared to 28% for those having only a biopsy or no surgical intervention (p = 0.04). None of the other potential prognostic or treatment related factors evaluated [patient age, tumor grade, tumor histology, radiotherapy parameters (including BID fractionation, 3-D treatment planning, or the use of doses > 55 Gy), or the administration of adjuvant chemotherapy] evaluated were associated with patient survival. Conclusions: Brainstem gliomas generally occur in younger individuals. The survival rates were better for patients with exophytic tumors, those involving sites other than the pons, and tumors amenable to subtotal resection. Improvements in the outcome of patients with brainstem gliomas will require new therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-177
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Brainstem tumors
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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