Radiation therapy (RT) remains a critical component of multimodality treatment for medulloblastoma. Traditionally, clinicians strive to start RT within 4-5 weeks of surgery, but the optimal timing after surgery remains unclear.Using the National Cancer Database, we identified pediatric and adolescent patients with medulloblastoma treated with curative-intent surgery, RT, and chemotherapy. Factors associated with early or delayed RT were identified using Pearson chi-squared tests. Overall survival (OS) differences based on RT timing were compared using the Kaplan-Meier estimator with log-rank tests. Patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics associated with OS were analyzed with univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard models.Among the 1338 patients analyzed, early RT (defined as initiation =3 weeks after surgery) was associated with younger age, M1-3 disease, and subtotal resection. Patients who initiated RT early had decreased five-year OS compared with patients who initiated RT 3.1-4, 4.1-5, or >5 weeks after surgery (72.5%, 80.5%, 79.4%, and 77.8%, respectively; p=0.019), but there was no significant difference in OS among the latter three groups (p=0.788). On multivariate analysis, early RT versus the 3.1-4-week interval was significantly associated with poorer OS (adjusted HR 1.72; 95% CI 1.19-2.48; p=0.004), while time to RT of >5 weeks but within 90 days of surgery did not adversely impact OS (p=0.563).In this large national database analysis, delaying RT within 90 days of surgery was not associated with inferior outcomes. Although clinical judgment remains paramount, postoperative RT timing should allow for healing and the development of an optimal treatment plan.
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