Study suggests adult medulloblastoma patients should receive post-surgical adjuvant chemotherapy

Written by Peter Brown

Researchers from Yale Cancer Center (New Haven, CT, USA) have evaluated the survival impact of adjuvant chemotherapy in adult medulloblastoma (MB) patients. Chemotherapy is routinely utilized as treatment for pediatric MB, however the effectiveness in adult patients is unclear.
The study, recently published in Neuro-Oncology and presented at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology (25–28 September 2016, Boston, MA, USA), demonstrated that the addition of adjuvant chemotherapy as postoperative treatment for adult MB patients already receiving craniospinal radiation may improve survival rates.

Utilizing the National Cancer Database, the team identified adult patients diagnosed with MB who underwent surgical resection and adjuvant craniospinal irradiation. The participants were divided into two groups of individuals who received both radiotherapy and chemotherapy or craniospinal irradiation alone.

Of the 751 patients involved, 520 (69.2%) received the combined treatment and 231 (30.8%) underwent radiation therapy only. Utilizing various mathematical equations, the team evaluated the overall survival of participants, demonstrating that individuals who received chemotherapy and radiotherapy had a 14.5% higher survival rate after 5 years compared with patients who received craniospinal irradiation alone (86.1% and 71.6%, respectively).

These findings demonstrate that the addition of chemotherapy to adult MB patients receiving postoperative radiotherapy is associated with superior survival rates, indicating that this combined therapy should be implemented in the future treatment of patients.

“Our analysis is the first to clearly demonstrate the improved survival that chemotherapy adds post-surgery for adult patients with medulloblastoma,” commented first author Benjamin Kann (Yale School of Medicine). “We can now confidently support the addition of chemotherapy to radiation therapy for our patients who can tolerate both treatments.”

Sources: Kann BH, Lestor-Coll NH, Park HS et al. Adjuvant chemotherapy and overall survival in adult medulloblastoma. Neuro. Oncol.  doi: 10.1093/neuonc/now150 (2016) (Epub ahead of print);
Presented at: American Society for Therapeutic Radiology. Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 25–28 September 2016.