Young children with medulloblastoma have a poor overall survival compared with older children, due to use of radiation-sparing therapy in young children. Radiotherapy is omitted or reduced in these young patients to spare them from debilitating long-term side-effects. We aimed to estimate event-free survival and define the molecular characteristics associated with progression-free survival in young patients with medulloblastoma using a risk-stratified treatment strategy designed to defer, reduce, or delay radiation exposure.In this multicentre, phase 2 trial, we enrolled children younger than 3 years with newly diagnosed medulloblastoma at six centres in the USA and Australia. Children aged 3-5 years with newly diagnosed, non-metastatic medulloblastoma without any high-risk features were also eligible. Eligible patients were required to start therapy within 31 days from definitive surgery, had a Lansky performance score of at least 30, and did not receive previous radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Patients were stratified postoperatively by clinical and histological criteria into low-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk treatment groups. All patients received identical induction chemotherapy (methotrexate, vincristine, cisplatin, and cyclophosphamide), with high-risk patients also receiving an additional five doses of vinblastine. Induction was followed by risk-adapted consolidation therapy: low-risk patients received cyclophosphamide (1500 mg/m2 on day 1), etoposide (100 mg/m2 on days 1 and 2), and carboplatin (area under the curve 5 mg/mL per min on day 2) for two 4-week cycles; intermediate-risk patients received focal radiation therapy (54 Gy with a clinical target volume of 5 mm over 6 weeks) to the tumour bed; and high-risk patients received chemotherapy with targeted intravenous topotecan (area under the curve 120-160 ng-h/mL intravenously on days 1-5) and cyclophosphamide (600 mg/m2 intravenously on days 1-5). After consolidation, all patients received maintenance chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, topotecan, and erlotinib. The coprimary endpoints were event-free survival and patterns of methylation profiling associated with progression-free survival. Outcome and safety analyses were per protocol (all patients who received at least one dose of induction chemotherapy); biological analyses included all patients with tissue available for methylation profiling. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00602667, and was closed to accrual on April 19, 2017.Between Nov 27, 2007, and April 19, 2017, we enrolled 81 patients with histologically confirmed medulloblastoma. Accrual to the low-risk group was suspended after an interim analysis on Dec 2, 2015, when the 1-year event-free survival was estimated to be below the stopping rule boundary. After a median follow-up of 5·5 years (IQR 2·7-7·3), 5-year event-free survival was 31·3% (95% CI 19·3-43·3) for the whole cohort, 55·3% (95% CI 33·3-77·3) in the low-risk cohort (n=23) versus 24·6% (3·6-45·6) in the intermediate-risk cohort (n=32; hazard ratio 2·50, 95% CI 1·19-5·27; p=0·016) and 16·7% (3·4-30·0) in the high-risk cohort (n=26; 3·55, 1·66-7·59; p=0·0011; overall p=0·0021). 5-year progression-free survival by methylation subgroup was 51·1% (95% CI 34·6-67·6) in the sonic hedgehog (SHH) subgroup (n=42), 8·3% (95% CI 0·0-24·0%) in the group 3 subgroup (n=24), and 13·3% (95% CI 0·0-37·6%) in the group 4 subgroup (n=10). Within the SHH subgroup, two distinct methylation subtypes were identified and named iSHH-I and iSHH-II. 5-year progression-free survival was 27·8% (95% CI 9·0-46·6; n=21) for iSHH-I and 75·4% (55·0-95·8; n=21) for iSHH-II. The most common adverse events were grade 3-4 febrile neutropenia (48 patients [59%]), neutropenia (21 [26%]), infection with neutropenia (20 [25%]), leucopenia (15 [19%]), vomiting (15 [19%]), and anorexia (13 [16%]). No treatment-related deaths occurred.The risk-adapted approach did not improve event-free survival in young children with medulloblastoma. However, the methylation subgroup analyses showed that the SHH subgroup had improved progression-free survival compared with the group 3 subgroup. Moreover, within the SHH subgroup, the iSHH-II subtype had improved progression-free survival in the absence of radiation, intraventricular chemotherapy, or high-dose chemotherapy compared with the iSHH-I subtype. These findings support the development of a molecularly driven, risk-adapted, treatment approach in future trials in young children with medulloblastoma.American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, NCI Cancer Center, Alexander and Margaret Stewart Trust, Sontag Foundation, and American Association for Cancer Research.
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