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Outcome and prognostic factors following palliative craniospinal irradiation for leptomeningeal carcinomatosis

Authors El Shafie RA, Böhm K, Weber D, Lang K, Schlaich F, Adeberg S, Paul A, Haefner MF, Katayama S, Sterzing F, Hörner-Rieber J, Löw S, Herfarth K, Debus J, Rieken S, Bernhardt D

Received 1 August 2018

Accepted for publication 22 November 2018

Published 17 January 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 789—801

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S182154

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Rituraj Purohit


Rami A El Shafie,1,2 Karina Böhm,1,2 Dorothea Weber,3 Kristin Lang,1,2 Fabian Schlaich,1,2 Sebastian Adeberg,1,2 Angela Paul,1,2,4 Matthias F Haefner,1,2 Sonja Katayama,1,2 Florian Sterzing,1,2,5 Juliane Hörner-Rieber,1,2 Sarah Löw,6 Klaus Herfarth,1,2,4 Jürgen Debus,1,2,4,7 Stefan Rieken,1,2,4 Denise Bernhardt1,2

1Department of Radiation Oncology, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg 69120, Germany; 2National Center for Radiation Oncology (NCRO), Heidelberg Institute for Radiation Oncology (HIRO), Heidelberg 69120, Germany; 3Institute of Medical Biometry and Informatics (IMBI), Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg 69120, Germany; 4Heavy Ion Therapy Center (HIT), Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg 69120, Germany; 5Department of Radiation Oncology, Klinikum Kempten, Kempten 87439, Germany; 6Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Heidelberg, Heidelberg 69120, Germany; 7German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg 69120, Germany

Background: Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LC) is a severe complication of metastatic tumor spread to the central nervous system. Prognosis is dismal with a median overall survival (OS) of ~10–15 weeks. Treatment options include radiotherapy (RT) to involved sites, systemic chemo- or targeted therapy, intrathecal chemotherapy and best supportive care with dexamethasone. Craniospinal irradiation (CSI) is a more aggressive radiotherapeutic approach, for which very limited data exists. Here, we report on our 10-year experience with palliative CSI of selected patients with LC.
Patients and methods: Twenty-five patients received CSI for the treatment of LC at our institution between 2008 and 2018. Patients were selected individually for CSI based on clinical performance, presenting symptoms and estimated benefit. Median patient age was 53 years (IQR: 45–59), and breast cancer was the most common primary. Additional brain metastases were found in 18 patients (72.0%). RT was delivered at a TomoTherapy machine, using helical intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). The most commonly prescribed dose was 36 Gy in 20 fractions, corresponding to a median biologically equivalent dose of 40.8 Gy (IQR: 39.0– 2.5). Clinical performance and neurologic function were assessed before and in response to therapy, and deficits were retrospectively quantified on the 5-point neurologic function scale (NFS). A Cox proportional hazards model with univariate and multivariate analyses was fitted for survival.
Results: Twenty-one patients died and four were alive at the time of analysis. Median OS from LC diagnosis was 19.3 weeks (IQR: 9.3–34.0, 95% CI: 11.0–32.0). In univariate analysis, a Karnofsky performance scale index (KPI) ≥70% (P=0.001), age ≤55 years at LC diagnosis (P=0.022), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein <100 mg/dL (P=0.018) and no more than mild or moderate neurologic deficits (NFS ≤2; P=0.007) were predictive of longer OS. So were the neurologic response to treatment (P=0.018) and the application of systemic therapy after RT completion (P=0.029). The presence of CSF flow obstruction was predictive of shorter OS (P=0.026). In multivariate analysis, age at LC diagnosis (P=0.018), KPI (P<0.001) and neurologic response (P=0.037) remained as independent prognostic factors for longer OS. Treatment-associated toxicity was manageable and
mostly grades I and II according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v4.0. Eight patients (32%) developed grade III myelosuppression. Neurologic symptom stabilization could be achieved in 40.0% and a sizeable improvement in 28.0% of all patients.
Conclusion: CSI for the treatment of LC is feasible and may have therapeutic value in carefully selected patients, alleviating symptoms or delaying neurologic deterioration. OS after CSI was comparable to the rates described in current literature for patients with LC. The use of modern irradiation techniques such as helical IMRT is warranted to limit toxicity. Patient selection should take into account prognostic factors such as age, clinical performance, neurologic function and the availability of systemic treatment options.

Keywords: leptomeningeal metastases, radiotherapy, TomoTherapy, carcinomatous meningitis, neuroaxis, neurologic function


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