(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Low-dose pegylated interferon therapy delays the time to disease progression in children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), according to a team of researchers of the National Cancer Institute. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “A phase 2 study of pegylated interferon α-2b in children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma,” which is published in the July 15 issue of Cancer.

The investigators aimed to compare 2-year survival with a historic cohort that received radiation therapy alone. To meet this aim, the investigators performed a phase 2 study of recombinant interferon α-2b with monomethoxy polyethylene glycol in children with DIPG. In this study, patients received weekly subcutaneous pegylated interferon α-2b (0.3μg/kg, beginning 2 to 10 weeks following radiation therapy) until they reached the primary end point of disease progression. Patients were evaluated clinically and radiographically at regular intervals, serum and urine assayed for biomarkers before each cycle, and quality-of-life (QOL) evaluations were administered at baseline and before every other cycle of therapy to the parents of patients aged 6 to 18 years.

The investigators reported the following results. pegylated interferon α-2b was well tolerated, with no decrease in QOL scores. A 2-year survival rate of 14% was reported but this rate was not significantly improved compared with the historic cohort. However, the median time to progression was 7.8 months.

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The investigators concluded: “Although low-dose pegylated interferon α-2b therapy did not significantly improve 2-year survival in children with DIPG compared with an historic control population, it did delay the time to progression.”