To analyze the patterns of failure in patients with supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumors (ST-PNETs) treated with combined modality therapy in a large, randomized, multi-institutional study.
A total of 44 prospectively staged patients with ST-PNET confirmed by central pathology review were treated in the Children's Cancer Group Study 921, which compared two chemoradiotherapy regimens. The patterns of initial sites of failure were analyzed. These were compared with the failure patterns of 188 children with posterior fossa (PF) PNETs treated in the same protocol.
The major determinant for progression-free survival was the initial metastatic stage. The 3-year progression-free survival for M0 patients was 53% +/- 8.5% compared with 14% +/- 9.4% for M+ patients. The cumulative 5-year relapse incidence was 71.4% +/- 21% for M+ patients compared with 47.5% +/- 8.6% for M0 patients. The overall failure rate for both M0 and M+ ST-PNETs was greater than that for PF-PNETs (47.5% +/- 8.6% vs. 29.3% +/- 4.7% for M0 and 71.4% +/- 21% vs. 48.4% +/- 5.5% for M+). Failure at the primary site, either as the sole site or as a component of initial failure, was also seen more frequently in ST-PNETs than in PF-PNETs. For M0 patients, the 5-year local failure rate as a component of initial failure was 42.0% +/- 8.5% for ST-PNETs compared with 17.7% +/- 3.9% for PF-PNETs. For patients with primary tumors either in the ST or PF, the 5-year spinal axis failure rate as a component of initial failure was not significantly different statistically when compared by M stage. For M+ patients, the 5-year spinal axis failure rate as a component of initial failure was 42.9% +/- 22.8% for ST-PNETs and 34.6% +/- 5.2% for PF-PNETs.
Despite aggressive combined modality therapy, ST-PNETs had high rates of failure, with M+ patients faring especially poorly. Both local and spinal failure rates remained high, indicating the need to maximize both local and regional/systemic therapies. Overall, these patients fared worse than those with high-risk PF-PNETs in terms of progression-free survival and failure rates.