Purpose. - To review the radiotherapy department experience in treating primitive spinal cord ependymomas (PSCE), analyse prognostic factors and provide treatment recommendations regarding literature review. Methods and material. - Sixteen patients with PSCE received postoperative radiotherapy between 1972 and 1997. There were 10 male and 6 female patients with a mean age of 34 years (range 2-63). Surgery was gross total resection in 2 cases, subtotal resection in 9, biopsy in 4 and of unknown type in one patient. All patients were treated with radiotherapy to the craniospinal axis (4 cases), spinal cord (1 case) and to the site of primary tumour in 11 cases. Results. - Five year-survival rate was 73%. Two patients had recurrent turnouts within the primary site. Gender, extent of surgery and treatment field extent were not prognostic factors. Histologic type was the only variable predictive of outcome. Patients with myxopapillary type had a 5-year survival rate of 100% compared with 47% for those with other histology types. Conclusion. - We conclude that aggressive surgery is not necessary in the management of PSCE, localised field radiotherapy is associated with favourable outcome, and tumour grade is an important prognostic factor. © 2003 Éditions scientifiques et médicales Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
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