Outcomes following limited-volume proton therapy for multifocal spinal myxopapillary ependymoma

Purpose: Spinal myxopapillary ependymoma (MPE) often presents with a multifocal distribution, complicating attempts at resection. There remains no standard approach to irradiating these patients. We report disease control and toxicity in pediatric patients with multifocal spinal MPE treated with limited-volume proton therapy.

Materials/methods: Twelve patients (≤21 years old) with multifocal spinal MPE were treated between 2009 and 2018 with limited-volume brain-sparing proton therapy. Median age was 13.5 years (range, 7-21). Radiotherapy was given as adjuvant therapy after primary surgery in five patients (42%) and for recurrence in seven (58%). No patient received prior radiation. Eleven patients (92%) had evidence of gross disease at radiotherapy. Eleven patients received 54 GyRBE; one received 50.4 GyRBE. Treatment toxicity was graded per the CTCAEv4.0. We estimated disease control and survival using the Kaplan-Meier product-limit method.

Results: The median follow-up was 3.6 years (range, 1.8-10.6). The five-year actuarial rates of local control, progression-free survival, and overall survival were 100%, 92%, and 100%, respectively. One patient experienced an out-of-field recurrence in the spine superior to the irradiated region. No patients developed in-field recurrences. Following surgery and irradiation, one patient developed grade three spinal kyphosis and one patient developed grade 2 unilateral L5 neuropathy.

Conclusion: 54 GyRBE to a limited volume appears effective for disseminated spinal MPE in both the primary and salvage settings, sparing children the toxicity of full craniospinal irradiation. Compared with historical reports, this approach using proton therapy improves the therapeutic ratio, resulting in minimal side effects and high rates of disease control.

Keywords: central nervous system tumor; particle therapy; pediatric cancer; proton therapy; radiation therapy.