Natural history and role of radiation in patients with supratentorial and infratentorial WHO grade II ependymomas: results from a population-based study

Aizer, Ayal A.; Ancukiewicz, Marek; Nguyen, Paul L.; MacDonald, Shannon M.; Yock, Torunn I.; Tarbell, Nancy J.; Shih, Helen A.; Loeffler, Jay S.; Oh, Kevin S.
December 2013
Journal of Neuro-Oncology;Dec2013, Vol. 115 Issue 3, p411
Academic Journal
Patients with World Health Organization (WHO) grade II supratentorial ependymomas are commonly observed after gross total resection (GTR), although supporting data are limited. We sought to characterize the natural history of such tumors. We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program to identify 112 patients ages 0–77 diagnosed with WHO grade II ependymomas between 1988 and 2007, of whom 63 (56 %) and 49 (44 %) had supratentorial and infratentorial primaries, respectively. Inclusion criteria were strict to ensure patient homogeneity. Of 33 patients with supratentorial tumors after GTR, 18 (55 %) received adjuvant radiation therapy and 15 (45 %) did not. Ependymoma-specific mortality (ESM) was the primary endpoint. With a median follow up of 4.5 years, only 1 of 33 patients with supratentorial ependymoma died of their disease after GTR; the 5-year estimate of ESM in this population was 3.3 % (95 % CI 0.2–14.8 %). Among patients with infratentorial ependymomas after GTR, the 5-year estimate of ESM was 8.7 % (95 % CI 1.4–24.6 %). In patients with subtotally resected tumors, 5-year estimates of ESM in patients with supratentorial and infratentorial primaries were 20.1 % (95 % CI 8.0–36.2 %) and 12.3 % (95 % CI 2.9–28.8 %), respectively. Among the whole cohort, on both univariable and multivariable regression, extent of resection was predictive of ESM, while tumor location and use of radiation were not. After GTR, patients with WHO grade II supratentorial ependymomas have a very favorable natural history with low associated cancer-specific mortality. Observation, with radiation reserved as a salvage option, may be a reasonable postoperative strategy in this population.


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