The results of radiotherapy for ependymomas: The Mayo Clinic experience

Steven E. Schild, Kurt Nisi, Bernd W. Scheithauer, William W. Wong, Mark K. Lyons, Paula J. Schomberg, Edward G. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Purpose: This analysis was performed to examine the outcome of patients with histologically confirmed ependymomas of the brain or spinal cord who received postoperative radiotherapy. Methods and Materials: Eighty patients with histologically confirmed ependymomas were evaluated retrospectively. All were treated with various combinations of surgery, radiotherapy (RT), and chemotherapy. Follow-up ranged from 5 to 30 years (median 10.4 years). Results: The 5- and 10-year survival rates for the entire study group were 79% and 73%, respectively. Patients with low-grade (1 and 2 of 4) tumors had a 5-year survival rate of 87% as compared to 27% for those with high-grade (3 and 4 of 4) tumors (p < 0.0001). Patients with tumors of the spine had a 5- year survival rate of 97% as compared to 68% for those with infratentorial tumors, and 62% for those with supratentorial tumors (p = 0.03). Patients with myxopapillary ependymomas of the spine had a 5-year survival rate of 100% as compared with 76 % for patients with other histological subtypes of ependymoma (p = 0.02). Multivariate analysis revealed that the survival rate was independently associated with tumor grade (p = 0.0007) and histological subtype (p = 0.02). Twenty-eight patients (35%) experienced local failure and 10 patients (13%) developed leptomeningeal seeding. The 5-year leptomeningeal failure rate was 10 % in patients with low-grade tumors as compared to 41% for patients with high grade tumors (p = 0.01). Conclusion: Patients with low-grade tumors, especially those with myxopapillary subtypes, have high 5- year survival rates when treated with post-operative radiotherapy. High grade ependymomas are associated with a much poorer outcome. New forms of therapy are required to improve the outcome of patients with high-grade ependymomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-958
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998


  • Chemotherapy introduction
  • Ependymoma
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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