Tumour Volume and Dose Influence Outcome after Surgery and High-dose Photon Radiotherapy for Chordoma and Chondrosarcoma of the Skull Base and Spine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • E R Gatfield
  • D J Noble
  • G C Barnett
  • N Y Early
  • A C F Hoole
  • S J Jefferies


AIMS: To evaluate the long-term outcomes of patients with chordoma and low-grade chondrosarcoma after surgery and high-dose radiotherapy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: High-dose photon radiotherapy was delivered to 28 patients at the Neuro-oncology Unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital (Cambridge, UK) between 1996 and 2016. Twenty-four patients were treated with curative intent, 17 with chordoma, seven with low-grade chondrosarcoma, with a median dose of 65 Gy (range 65-70 Gy). Local control and survival rates were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

RESULTS: The median follow-up was 83 months (range 7-205 months). The 5 year disease-specific survival for chordoma patients treated with radical intent was 85%; the local control rate was 74%. The 5 year disease-specific survival for chondrosarcoma patients treated with radical intent was 100%; the local control rate was 83%. The mean planning target volume (PTV) was 274.6 ml (median 124.7 ml). A PTV of 110 ml or less was a good predictor of local control, with 100% sensitivity and 63% specificity. For patients treated with radical intent, this threshold of 110 ml or less for the PTV revealed a statistically significant difference when comparing local control with disease recurrence (P = 0.019, Fisher's exact test). Our data also suggest that the probability of disease control may be partly related to both target volume and radiotherapy dose.

CONCLUSION: Our results show that refined high-dose photon radiotherapy, following tumour resection by a specialist surgical team, is effective in the long-term control of chordoma and low-grade chondrosarcoma, even in the presence of metal reconstruction. The results presented here will provide a useful source for comparison between high-dose photon therapy and proton beam therapy in a UK setting, in order to establish best practice for the management of chordoma and low-grade chondrosarcoma.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-253
Number of pages11
JournalClinical oncology (Royal College of Radiologists (Great Britain))
Issue number4
Early online date2 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018