Radiation Therapy For Pediatric Cancers
Radiation therapy has long occupied an important role in the treatment of childhood cancers. In years past, children were commonly treated with large fields and relatively high doses resulting in untoward toxicities, particularly related to impaired growth of bones and soft tissues. Today, considerable effort is made to limit the overall use of radiotherapy in these children and, when delivered, to minimize both the volume and dose prescribed. By doing so, many of the long-term toxicities common in years past should be less common in the coming years.
Radiotherapy is currently used in a wide variety of childhood cancers including Willm’s Tumor (view paper), soft tissue sarcoma (view paper) and rhabdomyosarcoma (view paper). In most, radiotherapy is delivered following surgery to children with “high risk” features, e.g. residual disease and involved lymph nodes.
Children with brain tumors are also commonly treated with radiotherapy, including brain stem gliomas (view paper) and medulloblastomas (view paper). Radiotherapy is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy, either sequentially or concomitantly.
Radiotherapy is also used in children with acute leukemia, for example as a means of reducing relapse in the central nervous system (CNS) (view paper). Children with leukemia may also receive total body irradiation (TBI) in conjunction with high dose chemotherapy.
Learn More About: