Pediatric Brain Tumors

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Abstract

Purpose of Review:

Pediatric brain tumors differ from those arising in adulthood. This article discusses the presentation, location, histology, new molecular understanding, therapy, and outcome of brain tumors in children.

Recent Findings:

Improved biological understanding of pediatric brain tumors is resulting in new molecular-based classification and the development of rationally designed therapeutics.

Summary:

The presentation of a pediatric brain tumor is dependent on the type of tumor, its location in the nervous system, and the age of the child. Diagnostic workup varies depending on the location of the tumor and the tumor’s propensity to disseminate in the nervous system. Survival has improved for pediatric brain tumors, particularly medulloblastoma, as a result of improved surgical techniques and rational use of postoperative radiation and chemotherapy. For medulloblastoma, recent studies have sought to maintain or improve survival while decreasing neurologic sequelae, particularly from radiation in young children. For other childhood brain tumor types, improvements in outcome are not as clear-cut. New molecular insights will likely alter classification, risk stratification, and therapy in the near future.

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