Clinical outcomes and quality of life in children and adolescents with primary brain tumors treated with pencil beam scanning proton therapy.

Tran, Sebastien; Lim, Pei S.; Bojaxhiu, Beat; Teske, Carmen; Baust, Katja; Zepter, Stefan; Kliebsch, Ulrike; Timmermann, Beate; Calaminus, Gabriele; Weber, Damien Charles (2020). Clinical outcomes and quality of life in children and adolescents with primary brain tumors treated with pencil beam scanning proton therapy. Pediatric blood & cancer, 67(12), e28465. Wiley-Liss 10.1002/pbc.28465

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Long-term treatment-related toxicity may substantially impact well-being, quality of life (QoL), and health of children/adolescents with brain tumors (CBTs). Strategies to reduce toxicity include pencil beam scanning (PBS) proton therapy (PT). This study aims to report clinical outcomes and QoL in PBS-treated CBTs.


We retrospectively reviewed 221 PBS-treated CBTs aged <18 years. Overall-free (OS), disease-free (DFS), and late-toxicity-free survivals (TFS), local control (LC) and distant (DC) brain/spinal control were calculated using Kaplan-Meier estimates. Prospective QoL reports from 206 patients (proxies only ≤4 years old [yo], proxies and patients ≥5 yo) were descriptively analyzed. Median follow-up was 51 months (range, 4-222).


Median age at diagnosis was 3.1 years (range, 0.3-17.7). The main histologies were ependymoma (n = 88; 39.8%), glioma (n = 37; 16.7%), craniopharyngioma (n = 22; 10.0%), atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) (n = 21; 9.5%) and medulloblastoma (n = 15; 6.8%). One hundred sixty (72.4%) patients received chemotherapy. Median PT dose was 54 Gy(relative biological effectiveness) (range, 18.0-64.8). The 5-year OS, DFS, LC, and DC (95% CI) were 79.9% (74-85.8), 65.2% (59.8-70.6), 72.1% (65.4-78.8), and 81.8% (76.3-87.3), respectively. Late PT-related ≥G3 toxicity occurred in 19 (8.6%) patients. The 5-year ≥G3 TFS was 91.0% (86.3-95.7). Three (1.4%) secondary malignancies were observed. Patients aged ≤3 years at PT (P = .044) or receiving chemotherapy (P = .043) experienced more ≥G3 toxicity. ATRT histology independently predicted distant brain failure (P = .046) and death (P = .01). Patients aged ≥5 years self-rated QoL higher than their parents (proxy assessment). Both reported lower social functioning and cognition after PT than at baseline, but near-normal long-term global well-being. QoL was well below normal before and after PT in children ≤4 years.


The outcome of CBTs was excellent after PBS. Few patients had late ≥G3 toxicity. Patients aged <5 years showed worse QoL and toxicity outcomes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Radiation Oncology

UniBE Contributor:

Bojaxhiu, Beat and Weber, Damien Charles


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Beatrice Scheidegger

Date Deposited:

15 Sep 2020 09:38

Last Modified:

26 Oct 2020 01:36

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

children late effects pediatric brain tumors pencil beam scanning proton therapy secondary malignancy toxicity




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