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The HIT treatment network for children and adolescents with brain tumours

Last update on: 04/09/2009


Focus of funding since 2000

Together with the association for paediatric cancer research, the GPOH (Association for Paediatric Oncology and Haematology), the German Childhood Cancer Foundation established the HIT treatment network, a networked research project for children and adolescents with brain tumours.

The focus of the funding of the HIT network currently supported by the German Childhood Cancer Foundation with a total of 1.16 million Euros per year, constitutes nation-wide therapy-optimisation-studies for various types of brain tumours with cross-study reference institutions for neuropathology, neuroradiology, cerebrospinal fluid diagnostics, radiation therapy, and biometrics.


The importance e.g. of a second assessment of histological findings and the neuroradiological findings generated with the help of visualising procedure is illustrated by the indeed substantial rates of discrepancies. In unique cases, important therapeutic decisions potentially depend on such findings. As a result, the reference institutes with their expertise play a significant role in the sense of quality assurance.


The cross-regional collaboration of various fields in the network makes it possible for every child or adolescence affected, independent of their domicile, to benefit from an optimum diagnosis according to current standards in quality, treatment, and subsequent care thereby giving many patients chances for the use of new therapeutic elements.

Goals, Structure, and Services

"Tumours of the central nervous system (CNS) are, with approximately 20% of all cancer illnesses, the largest diagnostic group among solid tumours in childhood and adolescence. Despite advances, the recovery rates of children with brain tumours continue to be poorer overall than those of children with cancer illnesses outside of the central nervous system: The survival rates determined by the German Paediatric Cancer Registry of children with tumours of the CNS only amounted to some 60% after 5 years although less than half the tumours had a high degree of malignancy in a histological respect. The success of a treatment must also be measured by the subsequent quality of life of the children treated as ensuing neurological, mental, hormonal, and psychosocial disorders can often result in considerable restrictions."


PD Dr. med. S. Rutkowski,

Spokesperson for the HIT Treatment Network,

Children's Hospital of the University Würzburg, Germany


Primary Objective

of the HIT network established in 2000 is a sweeping improvement and quality assurance of diagnostics (neuropathology, neuroradiology, cerebrospinal fluid diagnostics) and treatment (operation, radiation, chemotherapy) by means of the effective and cost-efficient networking of study centres with joint reference centres.


As a result, the patients can already be allocated at the beginning of the illness to the branch of treatment of the corresponding therapy study that applies to them according to the latest state of scientific findings.

Further objectives are:

  • The complete record of all children with brain tumours within the German-speaking territory
  • Intensification of the interdisciplinary collaboration of all special fields involved
  • Funding of early detection
  • Funding of experimental therapy studies for evaluating new therapeutic approaches
  • Provision of tumour material for promoting basic research (e.g. cancer genes, cell death/apoptosis, and regeneration of tumour tissues/neoangiogenesis)
  • Record of late effects caused by tumours and treatment and the quality of life
  • Improvement of the quality of life by means of treatment adapted to risks
  • Structuring of subsequent care and rehabilitation