So let?s review the 3 major types of CNS tumors in children.
Let?s first talk about medulloblastomas
and the PNET or primitive neuroectodermal tumor.
The PNET and medulloblastoma are about 20% of all pediatric brain tumors.
There are 40% of these are cerebellar tumors
or tumors arriving in the cerebellum.
These typically happen in children between 5 and 7 years of age.
These are a variety of small round blue cell tumors.
For these patients, we typically treat with resection
if we can as well as radiation or a combination of therapies.
These are the most likely brain tumor to metastasize.
There is generally a decent survival for standard risk PNETs
and medulloblastomas of around 75 to 85%.
However, in high-risk patients,
that survival rate can drop fairly dramatically, even as low as 25%.
It really depends on the type of tumor.
Also, just because a patient has survived,
it doesn?t mean they've survived normally.
In general for brain tumors, if surgery is going to be done,
younger babies are able to accommodate over life
because the brain is so plastic
but older children are less likely to accommodate for brain injury.
Next, the ependymoma.
So this constitutes about 10% of pediatric brain tumors
and is more common in the first decade of life.
It occurs in the ventricular system,
usually the posterior fossa at the floor of the fourth ventricle
and this can cause extreme emesis.
So these are commonly in patients who are vomiting very profoundly.
They can be locally invasive and spread through the spinal canal downward.
Also, CSF and spine MRI are important for metastatic workup.
Surgical resection is indicated followed by radiation
and there?s a relatively poor survival,
a 5-year survival rate of 10 to 70% depending on the type of tumor.
Last, let?s review the gliomas.
This is the most common CNS tumor, it?s the low-grade glioma.
It is a non-aggressive tumor.
It has a good overall prognosis assuming it can be handled.
These do not spread but spinal cord metastasis is possible in about 5%.
Treatment is resection.
As long as you can resect these,
the prognosis is a little better
and 90% will have a full cure after resection.
For unresectable tumors, the prognosis is worse
and these patients may require radiation
and chemotherapy for recurrent tumors.
Lastly, the high-grade anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma multiforme.
This is about 10% of all CNS tumors but it?s rare in children.
It generally affects cerebral hemispheres and it?s regionally invasive,
like you can see this one growing over into the other hemisphere.
It?s difficult to surgically resect. This can be quite challenging to treat.
There is a grim prognosis for this.
The anaplastic astrocytoma has a survival rate of only 35%
and the glioblastoma multiforme has a less than 10% 5-year survival.
These are dismal tumors to be diagnosed with.
So let?s turn now to the diffuse pontine glioma in the pons in the brainstem.
These are unresectable.
They are about 10 to 20% of pediatric brain tumors
and most patients die within 2 years of diagnosis.
These patients will respond to radiation
which is often palliative and most recur within 1 year.
Chemotherapy does not improve prognosis so typically it isn?t done.
So, complications and prevention.
Complications are usually related to radiation therapy and brain tumors.
This can result in growth failure,
endocrinological abnormalities such as panhypopituitarism,
secondary brain tumors which can happen later on as a result of the radiation,
vasculopathy or an irregularity of the blood vessels
as a result of the radiation therapy and long-term cognitive defects.
We want to avoid excessive radiation to the head such as head CT.
That?s a way to prevent brain tumors in the first place.
Remember, young kids exposed to head CTs
are at more risk for cancer likely than older people
because they?re having more active mitosis going on
and that?s more opportunity for errors in transcription of DNA
resulting in a clonal population.
So, we were trying to do less and less of radiation of the head
as much as we can.
Some patients such as patients with VP shunts
are at increased risk and we are moving more and more towards MRI modalities
for assessment of shunts so we can avoid cancer in the future for children.
So, that?s my brief review of brain cancer in children.
Thanks for your time.