Clinical characteristics and treatment of malignant brainstem gliomas in elderly patients.
Adult brainstem gliomas (BSG) are uncommon tumors that constitute only 2% of all brain tumors. Due to its rare occurrence in the elderly (60 years and older), there is no literature discussing the natural history, prognosis, and best treatment strategy for malignant BSG in this population to our knowledge. We report seven elderly patients with malignant BSG and propose treatment strategies to manage these aggressive tumors. The median age at onset in this cohort was 65 years, with the majority of patients being male (71.4%) and Caucasian (85.7%). The median duration of symptoms prior to presentation was 0.5 months, with the most common symptoms being facial weakness, blurry vision, headache, and extremity weakness. Tumors were most commonly located in the pons (85.7%), with one tumor being located in the tectal plate. Five of seven (71.4%) patients underwent biopsies, with two patients undergoing partial resections. Following tissue diagnosis, patients received radiation therapy and concurrent temozolomide, followed by additional chemotherapeutics upon progression. Side effects as a result of treatment were seen in three patients and all involved reversible hematological complications such as neutropenia and thrombopenia. The median time to progression was 6.7 months and the median overall survival was 13.5 months. While malignant BSG in elderly patients are aggressive gliomas with an overall poor prognosis, these patients are able to safely undergo aggressive chemoradiotherapy, resulting in improved survival. Resection may be considered for select patients in which the tumor is mostly exophytic, near the brainstem surface, and easily accessible.
Babu, R; Kranz, PG; Karikari, IO; Friedman, AH; Adamson, C
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