Optic Pathway Gliomas in Neurofibromatosis Type 1
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is one of the most common brain tumor predisposition syndromes, in which affected children are prone to the development of low-grade gliomas. While NF1-associated gliomas can be found in several brain regions, the majority arise in the optic nerves, chiasm, tracts, and radiations (optic pathway gliomas; OPGs). Owing to their location, 35-50% of affected children present with reduced visual acuity. Unfortunately, despite tumor stabilization following chemotherapy, vision does not improve in most children. For this reasons, more effective therapies are being sought that reflect a deeper understanding of the NF1 gene and the use of authenticated Nf1 genetically-engineered mouse strains. The implementation of these models for drug discovery and validation has galvanized molecularly-targeted clinical trials in children with NF1-OPG. Future research focused on defining the cellular and molecular factors that underlie optic glioma development and progression also has the potential to provide personalized risk assessment strategies for this pediatric population.