Radiation therapy for gliomas of the optic nerve and chiasm

Jeffrey J. Kovalic, Perry W. Grigsby, Mark J. Shepard, Barbara B. Fineberg, Patrick R. Thomas

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91 Scopus citations


Thirty-three patients with optic glioma seen over a 30-year period were reviewed. Five patients (15%) had tumor confined to the optic nerve, 8 patients (24%) had optic nerve and chiasmal involvement, and the remaining 20 patients (61%) had invasion of contiguous structures as well as chiasmal involvement. Eleven patients (33%) had a history of neurofibromatosis. Two-thirds of the patients had either a biopsy or a partial resection of the tumor, with the remaining one-third being clinically diagnosed. All patients received irradiation to local fields. The median dose was 5040 cGy in 160 cGy fractions. Of patients alive at last follow-up, the median time of follow-up was 12.3 years. The 5-, 10-, and 15-year overall actuarial survivals were 94, 81, and 74%, respectively. Univariate and multivariate analysis were performed on the following clinical variables: extent of primary tumor, extent of surgery, dose of radiation, gender, race, age, and presence or absence of neurofibromatosis. Extension of the primary lesion to the optic chiasm and age less. than or equal to 15 years were the only two variables to have statistically significantly inferior 15-year progression free survivals by multivariate analysis. Eighteen (55%) patients had treatment related complications with most involving the pituitary gland. We conclude that postoperative radiotherapy is beneficial in patients with chiasmal involvement and those with incomplete resections. A minimum tumor dose of 4000 cGy is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-932
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1990


  • Optic nerve glioma
  • Pediatric tumors
  • Radiation therapy


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