Increased risk of pseudoprogression among pediatric low-grade glioma patients treated with proton versus photon radiotherapy

Ethan B. Ludmir, Anita Mahajan, Arnold C. Paulino, Jeremy Y. Jones, Leena M. Ketonen, Jack M. Su, David R. Grosshans, Mary Frances McAleer, Susan L. McGovern, Yasmin A. Lassen-Ramshad, Adekunle M. Adesina, Robert C. Dauser, Jeffrey S. Weinberg, Murali Chintagumpala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background. Pseudoprogression (PsP) is a recognized phenomenon after radiotherapy (RT) for high-grade glioma but is poorly characterized for low-grade glioma (LGG). We sought to characterize PsP for pediatric LGG patients treated with RT, with particular focus on the role of RT modality using photon-based intensity-modulated RT (IMRT) or proton beam therapy (PBT). Methods. Serial MRI scans from 83 pediatric LGG patients managed at 2 institutions between 1998 and 2017 were evaluated. PsP was scored when a progressive lesion subsequently decreased or stabilized for at least a year without therapy. Results. Thirty-two patients (39%) were treated with IMRT, and 51 (61%) were treated with PBT. Median RT dose for the cohort was 50.4 Gy(RBE) (range, 45–59.4 Gy[RBE]). PsP was identified in 31 patients (37%), including 8/32 IMRT patients (25%) and 23/51 PBT patients (45%). PBT patients were significantly more likely to have post-RT enlargement (hazard ratio [HR] 2.15, 95% CI: 1.06–4.38, P = 0.048). RT dose >50.4 Gy(RBE) similarly predicted higher rates of PsP (HR 2.61, 95% CI: 1.20–5.68, P = 0.016). Multivariable analysis confirmed the independent effects of RT modality (P = 0.03) and RT dose (P = 0.01) on PsP incidence. Local progression occurred in 10 patients: 7 IMRT patients (22%) and 3 PBT patients (6%), with a trend toward improved local control for PBT patients (HR 0.34, 95% CI: 0.10–1.18, P = 0.099). Conclusions. These data highlight substantial rates of PsP among pediatric LGG patients, particularly those treated with PBT. PsP should be considered when assessing response to RT in LGG patients within the first year after RT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-695
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Low-grade glioma
  • Pediatric malignancy
  • Proton beam therapy
  • Pseudoprogression
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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