Long-term Follow-up of Pediatric Benign Cerebellar Astrocytomas

Neurosurgery 70:40–48, 2012 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31822ff0ed

The long-term prognosis of cerebellar astrocytomas needs to be reviewed.

OBJECTIVE: To elucidate the factors influencing tumor recurrence or progression and to determine how long these patient with cerebellar astrocytomas require surveillance with neuroimaging.

METHODS: A retrospective review of 101 children surgically treated for a cerebellar astrocytoma and followed up for >10 years was performed.

RESULTS: Mean follow-up was 18.4 years. Total resection confirmed by postoperative imaging was performed in 51 patients (50.5%; group A). Twenty-three patients (22.8%) had surgical total resection; however, equivocal residual tumor was found on postoperative imaging (group B). Subtotal resection leaving a portion of brainstem or cerebellar peduncle was performed in 27 patients (26.7; group C). Of these 50 residual tumors, 16 (32%) showed spontaneous regression and 8 (16%) showed arrested growth. Radiographic recurrence or progression was noted in 29 patients (28.7%). Only 3 of 51 patients (5.9%) of group A with total resection had recurrence, whereas 26 of 50 residual tumors (52%; groups B and C) progressed. The only factor affecting recurrence or progression by multivariate analysis was the extent of surgical resection. All tumor recurrence or progression except for 1 (96.6%) occurred within 8 years from the original surgery (range, 2-132 months).

CONCLUSIONS: Overall prognosis of cerebellar astrocytomas is good; the 10-year survival rate was 100% and recurrence- or progression-free rate was 71.3% in our cohort. Almost half of residual tumors showed spontaneous regression or arrested growth in the long term. Eight to 10 years is considered to be a reasonable follow-up period by neuroimaging.