Central Nervous System Involvement in Children with Sarcoma
Objectives: To summarize and analyze the experience in CNS involvement (CNSI) in children with sarcomas treated in the above-mentioned institutions. Patients and Methods: From 1990 to 2001, all medical charts were retrospectively reviewed: 19 sarcoma patients (12 boys and 7 girls) were diagnosed with CNSI (4 osteogenic sarcomas, 11 Ewing sarcomas, 2 rhabdomyosarcomas, 1 alveolar soft part sarcoma and 1 mesenchymal chondrosarcoma). Mean age of all patients at the time of initial diagnosis was
... 9 years (range: 4-24 years), mean age at the time when CNSI was diagnosed was 16.9 years (range: 5.5-27 years). Results: The frequency of CNSI among our patients was 6.17%. The following symptoms and signs (sometimes combined) presented: headache (10 patients), nausea and vomiting (6 patients), seizures (11 patients) and focal neurological signs (9 patients). The mean duration of time elapsed since diagnosis of CNSI till death or last follow-up was 5.2 months (SD: B5.7 months). Four patients received chemotherapy (CT) alone, 8 CT and radiotherapy (RT), 2 RT alone, 3 supportive treatment only, 1 CT and surgery and 1 surgery alone. Sixteen patients died; there was no significant difference in the duration of survival between those who were treated with RT or surgery (mean B SD: 6.77 B 6.56 months) and those who received only CT or supportive treatment (mean B SD: 2.60 B 2.94 months) (p = 0.07). Brain disease was the main cause of death in all but 1 patient who died 4 days after autologous bone marrow transplantation from uncontrolled sepsis. In 16 patients, CNSI was part of a metastatic disease. Conclusions: Among children with sarcoma, CNSI is encountered in 6.17% of cases. More effective therapy has to be developed in order to improve their outcome.