Tumor pathology, patient age, extent of surgery, and treatment technique all appear to be significantly associated with the long-term outcomes of persons with primary spinal-cord gliomas.

Arnab Chakravarti, MD—chair and professor of radiation oncology and co-director of the brain tumor program at The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Columbus—led the 14-year study of 32 persons. “Our findings need to be verified in a larger number of patients, but they suggest that individuals younger than age 54, those with ependymomas, and those treated with photon-based therapy versus proton-beam treatment have better overall survival,” he reported in a statement issued by Ohio State University Medical Center.

The overall 5-year survival rate for all 32 patients was 65%, and the progression-free survival rate was 61%. “Perhaps most surprising is that the subset of spinal-cord tumor patients treated by photons appeared to do worse, even though they have more favorable pretreatment demographics,” noted Dr. Chakravarti.

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In addition, persons 55 years and older, those with astrocytomas as opposed to ependymomas, and those who had a biopsy rather than a resection, all fared worse in overall survival.

The study was published online ahead of print by International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.