Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

3-D Irradiation Of Brain Cancer In Children Spares IQ, Memory, Other Cognitive Functions

Date:
August 12, 2004
Source:
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Summary:
A radiation therapy technique that kills brain tumors in children while sparing normal tissue allows young patients to enjoy normal development of memory, reasoning, problem-solving and other cognitive functions, according to investigators at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

A radiation therapy technique that kills brain tumors in children while sparing normal tissue allows young patients to enjoy normal development of memory, reasoning, problem-solving and other cognitive functions, according to investigators at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The results of a Phase II clinical trial of this technique, called conformal radiation therapy (CRT), hold promise for sparing cognitive development even in children younger than three years.

This research is published in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The St. Jude study found that about 75 percent of the children treated for ependymoma with CRT did not experience progression of their cancer after three years, and their cognitive development was not significantly impaired by radiation therapy.

Ependymoma is a malignant brain tumor that occurs predominately in children. About 150 cases occur in the United States each year among people younger than 14 years.

The study’s findings could offer an answer to a long-standing dilemma facing physicians treating children who have brain tumors, according to Thomas Merchant, D.O., Ph.D., chief of Radiation Oncology at St. Jude. Following surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, radiation treatment is more effective than chemotherapy at eradicating the remaining cancer. However, despite its lower rate of treatment success, chemotherapy has been used in the past for young children because of fear among physicians and parents of radiation-related treatment effects.

Merchant is the principal investigator and lead author of the JCO report.

“The long-term problems with cognitive development caused by traditional radiation therapy make this treatment unpopular among both physicians and parents,” Merchant said. “However, the improved outcomes we have seen in both disease control and intellectual development using CRT suggest that it might be possible to reintroduce the routine use of radiation therapy as a treatment option even for very young children.”

Merchant is currently principal investigator for a national trial of CRT for ependymoma based on the study’s findings. The trial is conducted by the Children’s Oncology Group.

CRT combines CAT scans and MRI to create pictures of the cancer that a computer then turns into three-dimensional images of the tumor exactly as it appears in the brain. These images are combined with computer-controlled radiation beams and meticulous positioning of the treatment table on which the patient lies. Radiation hits the tumor at precisely calculated angles and depths matching the 3-D image of the tumor, obliterating the cancer and sparing healthy tissue.

The median age of the 88 patients in the St. Jude study was 2.85 years, and 48 patients were younger than three years. According to Merchant, the inclusion of children younger than 3 years at the time of irradiation was unique, since children in this age group are at greatest risk of the effects of irradiation.

Before CRT, all patients underwent surgery to remove as much tumor as possible. Patients underwent testing of their cognitive abilities before CRT and again at six, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 months after start of radiation therapy. The tests varied according to age and included assessments of IQ, verbal memory and recall, academic achievement and other developmental skills that could be disrupted by radiation damage to the brain.

Merchant attributes the encouraging results of the study to three factors: 1) the large number of patients that underwent extensive surgery to remove most of the tumor before irradiation therapy; 2) the use of CRT to target tumors; and 3) the relatively high dose of radiation that could be used with CRT without jeopardizing healthy brain tissue.

Other authors of this study are Raymond K. Mulhern, Matthew J. Krasin, Larry E. Kun, Tani Williams, Chenhong Li, Xiaoping Xiong, Raja B. Khan, Robert H. Lustig, Frederick A. Boop and Robert A. Sanford.

This work was supported in part by a Cancer Center Support grant from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and ALSAC.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit http://www.stjude.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "3-D Irradiation Of Brain Cancer In Children Spares IQ, Memory, Other Cognitive Functions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812053305.htm>.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. (2004, August 12). 3-D Irradiation Of Brain Cancer In Children Spares IQ, Memory, Other Cognitive Functions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812053305.htm
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "3-D Irradiation Of Brain Cancer In Children Spares IQ, Memory, Other Cognitive Functions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812053305.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins