Radiation therapy and concurrent topotecan followed by maintenance triple anti-angiogenic therapy with thalidomide, etoposide, and celecoxib for pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma


  • Conflict of interest: Nothing to declare.



Despite major treatment attempts, the prognosis for pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs) remains dismal. Gliomas are highly vascularized tumors, suggesting that the prevention of vessel formation by anti-angiogenic treatment might be effective.


Forty-one pediatric patients with DIPG were treated according to the Angiocomb protocol, starting with radiotherapy combined with topotecan and followed by anti-angiogenic triple medication consisting of thalidomide, etoposide, and celecoxib. Overall survival, radiological response, quality of life, requirement of corticosteroids, and adverse effects were monitored. Eight patients treated with only radiotherapy were used as controls.


For study patients, the 12 and 24 months overall survival was 61% and 17%, respectively. The median overall survival was 12 months (range 4–60 months). Four radiological complete responses were seen, of which two were transient. Radiologically, 56% of the tumors reduced in size and 78% in signal intensity. Study patients were able to visit school or daycare and walk for a significantly longer time compared to controls (Log Rank 0.036 and 0.008, respectively). Adverse effects were generally minor.


The Angiocomb protocol created a noticeable share of long-term survivors and was well tolerated, suggesting that anti-angiogenic therapy for patients with DIPG should be studied more in the future. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2014;61:1603–1609. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.