Background. Pilocytic astrocytoma is a rare tumor in adults. This report is of a prospective clinical trial with long-term follow-up. Methods. Between 1986 and 1994, 20 eligible adults with supratentorial pilocytic astrocytomas were enrolled in a prospective intergroup trial of radiotherapy (RT) after biopsy (3 patients) or observation after gross (11 patients) or subtotal (6 patients) resection. Results. At the time of analysis (median follow-up, 20.8 years), 2 patients (10%) have died and 18 patients (90%) are alive. Neurologic and cognitive function were stable or improved over time for the majority of patients. No toxic effects of treatment or malignant transformations have been recorded at last follow-up. For the entire cohort the 20-year time to progression and overall survival rates are 95% and 90% respectively. The cause of death (2.2 and 16.1 years after enrollment) in both patients was unrelated to tumor although both were biopsy-only patients. One subtotally resected tumor progressed 1 month after enrollment requiring P32 injection into an enlarging cyst. Because of further progression this patient required RT 18 months later. This patient is alive without evidence of progression 18 years after RT. Conclusion. The long-term follow-up results of this prospective trial confirm that adults with pilocytic astrocytomas have a favorable prognosis with regard to survival and neurologic function. Close observation is recommended for adults with pilocytic astrocytomas, reserving RT for salvage, as the majority remain stable after gross or subtotal resection and no adjuvant therapy.
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