Typically these tumors are astrocytomas , and can be grades I-IV. Because of their location in the brainstem which controls many critical functions like breathing, swallowing, and heart rate , treatment for these tumors require certain considerations. Astrocytomas that develop in different regions of the brainstem behave very differently from each other.
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Brainstem gliomas are not nearly as common in adults as they are in children. They are likely the final common consequence not of a single disease process but of several. They can be difficult to diagnose, and are challenging to treat. Clinical studies of this diagnosis are few and generally small. Because of these factors, our understanding of the biology of adult brainstem glioma is incomplete. However, the knowledge base is growing and progress is being made. In this article, we review the current state of knowledge for brainstem glioma in adults and identify key areas for which additional information is required. The past several years have yielded important insights into the biology of glioma in adults. Efforts such as The Cancer Genome Atlas TCGA have comprehensively cataloged the litany of somatic alterations occurring in glioblastoma and lower grade gliomas, leading to discoveries such as the importance of IDH1 mutations in the development of a low-grade glioma and secondary glioblastoma 1. Pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma DIPG — the most frequent malignant primary brain tumor of childhood — on the other hand, has been found to have substantially different biological underpinnings.
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There are many types of brain and spinal cord tumors. The tumors are formed by the abnormal growth of cells and may begin in different parts of the brain or spinal cord. Together, the brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system CNS. When a tumor grows into or presses on an area of the brain, it may stop that part of the brain from working the way it should. Both benign and malignant brain tumors cause signs and symptoms and need treatment. Brain and spinal cord tumors can occur in both adults and children. However, treatment for children may be different than treatment for adults. Tumors that start in the brain are called primary brain tumors.
In contrast to childhood brainstem gliomas, adult brainstem gliomas are rare and poorly understood. The charts of 48 adults suffering from brainstem glioma were reviewed in order to determine prognostic factors, evaluate the effect of treatment and propose a classification of these tumours. Mean age at onset was 34 years range 16—70 years. Overall median survival was 5. Eighty-five percent of the tumours could be classified into one of the following three groups on the basis of clinical, radiological and histological features. Contrast enhancement and necrosis were the rule on MRI.