Standard treatment for patients with diffuse pontine tumors is radiation therapy, but less than 10% of patients are cured. Adding standard chemotherapy has not improved the cure rate.
Standard treatment for high-grade astrocytomas is surgery and radiation. The surgeon removes as much of the tumor as she or he can. Radiation after that tries to kill any cancer cells that are left. Some patients also get chemotherapy. These are anti-cancer drugs. They can be given during or after radiation. Current standard treatments do not cure many patients.
In this study the doctors are adding a new medication called cetuximab to the treatment and will also use a chemotherapy medication (irinotecan) that has been promising for patients treated for recurrent disease.