Nav: Home

Proton therapy for pediatric brain tumors has favorable cognitive outcomes

November 05, 2018

Proton therapy treatment for pediatric brain tumor patients is associated with better neurocognitive outcomes compared to x-ray radiation therapy according to a study presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting and the International Society of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting.

In a retrospective study, Northwestern Medicine researchers compared the outcomes of 125 pediatric patients who received treatment for brain tumors. After accounting for other factors on a multivariable analysis, proton therapy was associated with higher performance in terms of full-scale IQ (10.6 points higher), processing speed (12.6 points higher) and parent-reported practical function (13.8 points higher) relative to x-ray radiation. Other significant factors included patient age, receipt of craniospinal irradiation and the presence of hydrocephalus.

"A child's brain is more sensitive to radiation. The radiation can disrupt connections being formed in the white matter and prevent the brain from developing normally," said lead author Jeffrey Paul Gross, MD, MS, Northwestern University radiation oncology resident. "If we are able to spare healthy portions of the brain from radiation there is a potential for improved long-term cognitive outcomes."

Proton therapy uses protons - heavy, positively charged atomic particles - instead of the standard X-rays used in conventional radiation therapy. Protons deposit much of their energy, or dose, directly in the tumor and then stop, whereas conventional radiation continues to deposit the dose beyond the tumor.

"Based on radiation dose profiles, we have always anticipated that children with brain tumors would derive cognitive benefits of proton therapy relative to conventional x-ray therapy," commented senior author Vinai Gondi, MD, director of Research & Education at the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center. "This study provides our first and most compelling clinical evidence of the importance of using proton therapy to spare as much normal brain tissue as possible."

Study participants received age-appropriate neuropsychological assessment of IQ, processing speed, visual motor integration, executive function, memory and parent-reported function. The median age of diagnosis was seven years and the median time from treatment to last assessment was four years. The authors note, patients receiving proton therapy had shorter median time from treatment conclusion to last neuropsychological assessment. However, when applying statistical approaches to account for these differences, the cognitive benefits of proton therapy were still observed.
-end-


Northwestern Memorial HealthCare

Related Brain Articles:

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.
BRAIN Initiative tool may transform how scientists study brain structure and function
Researchers have developed a high-tech support system that can keep a large mammalian brain from rapidly decomposing in the hours after death, enabling study of certain molecular and cellular functions.
Wiring diagram of the brain provides a clearer picture of brain scan data
In a study published today in the journal BRAIN, neuroscientists led by Michael D.
Blue Brain Project releases first-ever digital 3D brain cell atlas
The Blue Brain Cell Atlas is like ''going from hand-drawn maps to Google Earth'' -- providing previously unavailable information on major cell types, numbers and positions in all 737 brain regions.
Landmark study reveals no benefit to costly and risky brain cooling after brain injury
A landmark study, led by Monash University researchers, has definitively found that the practice of cooling the body and brain in patients who have recently received a severe traumatic brain injury, has no impact on the patient's long-term outcome.
More Brain News and Brain Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...