Radiation triples survival for a rare brain tumor

Memphis, Tennessee, March 1, 2019

Thomas Merchant, D.O. Ph.D., consults with an ependymoma patient at St. Jude.

Thomas Merchant, D.O. Ph.D., consults with an ependymoma patient at St. Jude.

A clinical trial tested surgery and radiation for a rare  brain tumor called ependymoma. Results nearly tripled five-year survival for the youngest patients.

The clinical trial included nearly 400 patients and was open at more than 100 locations. The results show that radiation can improve outcomes despite patients’ age and tumor subtype.

 Researchers also did molecular analyses. These tests explored the influence of biologic markers on outcomes. The findings shed light on how patients are likely to respond to treatment. This will aid in the design of future clinical trials.

 “These data show that surgery and radiation are the backbone of ependymoma treatment,” said Thomas Merchant, DO, PhD, principal investigator of the study and chair of Radiation Oncology. “Now, we can test new therapies in addition to radiation to further improve outcomes for these children.”

A report on this work appeared in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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