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Successful treatment of childhood intramedullary spinal cord astrocytomas with irinotecan and cisplatin

Posted on: 01/07/2007

Clinical Investigations

Successful treatment of childhood intramedullary spinal cord astrocytomas with irinotecan and cisplatin

Jaume Mora1, Ofelia Cruz, Sandra Gala and Ramon Navarro

Departments of Pediatric Oncology (J.M., O.C., S.G.) and Neurosurgery (R.N.), Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Spain

1 Address correspondence to Jaume Mora, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pediatric Oncology, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Passeig de Sant Joan de Déu numero 2, 08950 Barcelona, Spain ( ).

Childhood spinal cord astrocytomas are rare diseases, and their management is controversial. We report here our successful experience using irinotecan and cisplatin in three consecutive infants with progressing intramedullary astrocytomas. The first patient was a 16-month-old girl who presented with a grade III intramedullary astrocytoma that rapidly progressed after surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy. Weekly irinotecan (50 mg/m2) and cisplatin (30 mg/m2) for four consecutive weeks (one cycle) for a total of four cycles (I/C regimen) was used in order to avoid or delay radiotherapy. Radiological complete remission was achieved 10 months after completion of therapy, and 3.5 years after diagnosis the patient remains disease free. The second patient was a 19-month-old boy with a C3-T4 grade II intramedullary astrocytoma who received up-front vincristine and carboplatin for two months but remained clinically symptomatic. A followup MRI showed a larger tumor, and the patient was switched to the I/C regimen. A marked clinical improvement occurred after the first cycle, and MRI showed a very good partial remission at the end of therapy. At 16 months after diagnosis, the patient remains disease free. The third patient was a 10-month-old girl with a C2-T3 grade II intramedullary astrocytoma. She presented with severe pain that became steroid dependent during the month she was treated with the vincristine-carboplatin regimen. When she was switched to the I/C regimen, the clinical symptoms responded within days. MRI at the end of therapy showed a significant reduction in tumor size, and one year after diagnosis the patient remains symptom free. Using this I/C regimen for childhood intramedullary astrocytoma, we obtained remarkable clinicoradiological responses while avoiding the use of radiotherapy.


Key Words: chemotherapy • childhood brain tumor • cisplatin • intramedullary astrocytoma • irinotecan • primary intramedullary spinal cord neoplasms

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