, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 38-49
Date: 14 Nov 2013

Chemotherapy in Childhood Brain Tumors

Abstract

Over time, the systematic evaluation of conventional chemotherapy for the treatment of childhood malignant brain tumors has revealed subtype-specific effectiveness. While having a pivotal role in improving survival for medulloblastoma patients, its activity against other tumors, such as pediatric high-grade glioma, remains disappointing. Today’s clinician faces a dilemma when trying to improve patient outcomes further; escalating traditional treatment is likely to produce only additional morbidity without improving cure, particularly for the very young. The current evolution of genetic and molecular brain tumor research brings with it the hope of establishing novel targeted agents that can either supplement or replace standard chemotherapy to improve patient outcome and minimize toxicity. This article reviews literature from the past year evaluating both conventional chemotherapy and molecular agents for the three most common tumor subgroups; medulloblastoma, glioma (low/high-grade) and ependymoma. Future treatment strategies across North America and Europe are also highlighted.