The effect of radiation timing on patients with high-risk features of parameningeal rhabdomyosarcoma: an analysis of IRS-IV and D9803

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiation Oncology; Quality Assurance Review Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Brain Neoplasms; Child; Child, Preschool; Cranial Nerve Diseases; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Infant; Male; Meningeal Neoplasms; Neoplasm Invasiveness; Neoplasm Staging; Neoplasm, Residual; Radiotherapy Dosage; Rhabdomyosarcoma; Rhabdomyosarcoma, Alveolar; Rhabdomyosarcoma, Embryonal; Time Factors


Neoplasms | Oncology | Pediatrics | Radiology | Therapeutics


PURPOSE: Radiation therapy remains an essential treatment for patients with parameningeal rhabdomyosarcoma (PMRMS), and early radiation therapy may improve local control for patients with intracranial extension (ICE).

METHODS AND MATERIALS: To address the role of radiation therapy timing in PMRMS in the current era, we reviewed the outcome from 2 recent clinical trials for intermediate-risk RMS: Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study (IRS)-IV and Children's Oncology Group (COG) D9803. The PMRMS patients on IRS-IV with any high-risk features (cranial nerve palsy [CNP], cranial base bony erosion [CBBE], or ICE) were treated immediately at day 0, and PMRMS patients without any of these 3 features received week 6-9 radiation therapy. The D9803 PMRMS patients with ICE received day 0 X-Ray Therapy (XRT) as well; however, those with either CNP or CBBE had XRT at week 12.

RESULTS: Compared with the 198 PMRMS patients from IRS-IV, the 192 PMRMS patients from D9803 had no difference (P < .05) in 5-year local failure (19% vs 19%), failure-free-survival (70% vs 67%), or overall survival (75% vs 73%) in aggregate. The 5-year local failure rates by subset did not differ when patients were classified as having no risk features (None, 15% vs 19%, P = .25), cranial nerve palsy/cranial base of skull erosion (CNP/CBBE, 15% vs 28%, P = .22), or intracranial extension (ICE, 21% vs 15%, P = .27). The D9083 patients were more likely to have received initial staging by magnetic resonance imaging (71% vs 53%).

CONCLUSIONS: These data support that a delay in radiation therapy for high-risk PMRMS features of CNP/CBBE does not compromise clinical outcomes.

DOI of Published Version



Spalding AC, Hawkins DS, Donaldson SS, Anderson JR, Lyden E, Laurie F, Wolden SL, Arndt CA, Michalski JM. The effect of radiation timing on patients with high-risk features of parameningeal rhabdomyosarcoma: an analysis of IRS-IV and D9803. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2013 Nov 1;87(3):512-6. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2013.07.003. PubMed PMID: 24074925; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC4524335. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics


This study was supported in part by Grant CA-29511 from the National Cancer Institute for the IROC Rhode Island (QARC), a quality assurance vehicle and data management service for diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology for the National Cancer Institute Clinical Trials Program. QARC is a research program within the University of Massachusetts Medical School led by Dr. Thomas (TJ) FitzGerald of the Department of Radiation Oncology.

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