Objective: Ever-expanding technological advances have enabled many pediatric brain tumor patients to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. Studies have shown that proton therapy spares more healthy tissue than photon radiation. However, proton therapy is more expensive, and questions remain regarding whether this cost is justified in terms of short and long-term health improvements. This research aims to determine if neurocognitive effects of photon versus proton beam radiation differ in pediatric brain tumor patients. Method: This is a retrospective review of clinical neuropsychological profiles from 39 pediatric brain tumor patients (24 males and 15 females; M = 9.6 years, SD = 2.2) who were evaluated prior to radiation therapy and 1 year after radiation completion. Eighteen patients received photon radiation and 21 received proton beam. Processing speed and working memory were evaluated using the WISC-IV. Results: A 2 (time) x 2 (treatment type) ANCOVA revealed that regardless of tumor location, children who received photon beam radiation scored lower on processing speed than those who received proton beam radiation therapy, F(1, 19) = 4.835, p = 0.040 (Time 2 Mphoton = 81.3, SD = 13.4; Mproton = 76.8, SD = 20.5). Working memory did not differ between the groups over the one-year time period. Conclusion: Proton beam radiation therapy may result in fewer neurocognitive late effects in comparison to traditional photon radiation therapy. This may result in better educational and vocational outcomes for this population. Despite the small sample size and variable tumor location, results support the importance of thorough neuropsychological evaluation in this population.
Processing Speed and Working Memory Outcomes in Pediatric Brain Tumor Patients Treated with Photon versus Proton-Beam Radiation Therapy
R Peterson, J Katzenstein; B-53
Processing Speed and Working Memory Outcomes in Pediatric Brain Tumor Patients Treated with Photon versus Proton-Beam Radiation Therapy. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2016; 31 (6): 633. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acw043.128
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