Although 75- 85% of patients show some improvement in their symptoms after radiation therapy, DIPGs almost always begin to grow again (called recurrence, relapse, or progression). Clinical trials have reported that the median time between radiation therapy treatment and progression is 5-8.8 months.
Patients whose tumors begin to grow again may be eligible for Pilot, Phase I, or Phase II clinical trials. These clinical trials use experimental drugs or other experimental therapeutic approaches to try to slow or stop the growth of the tumor. Unfortunately, clinical trials have not shown any significant benefit from these experimental therapies so far. However, researchers are always working to develop new potential therapies for DIPGs. By participating in clinical trials, patients and families can help researchers learn more about DIPG and perhaps help future patients.
Unfortunately, DIPGs that progress usually grow quickly and affect important parts of the brain. Clinical trials have reported that the median time from tumor progression to death is usually very short, between 1 and 4.5 months. During this time, doctors focus on controlling symptoms and helping children to feel as comfortable as possible.