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Childhood Central Nervous System Embryonal Tumors Treatment (PDQ®)

Patient Version

Treatment Options for Childhood Central Nervous System Embryonal Tumors and Childhood Pineoblastoma

Newly Diagnosed Childhood Medulloblastoma

In newly diagnosed childhood medulloblastoma, the tumor itself has not been treated. The child may have received drugs or treatment to relieve signs or symptoms caused by the tumor.

Children older than 3 years with average-risk medulloblastoma

Standard treatment of average-risk medulloblastoma in children older than 3 years includes the following:

Children older than 3 years with high-risk medulloblastoma

Standard treatment of high-risk medulloblastoma in children older than 3 years includes the following:

  • Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. This is followed by a larger dose of radiation therapy to the brain and spinal cord than the dose given for average-risk medulloblastoma. Chemotherapy is also given during and after radiation therapy.
  • Surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, and high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Children aged 3 years and younger

Standard treatment of medulloblastoma in children aged 3 years and younger is:

  • Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by chemotherapy.

Other treatments that may be given after surgery include the following:

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the area where the tumor was removed.
  • High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue.

Treatment of medulloblastoma in children aged 3 years and younger is often within a clinical trial. Clinical trials are studying new combinations of chemotherapy with stem cell rescue.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with untreated childhood medulloblastoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Newly Diagnosed Childhood Central Nervous System Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors

In newly diagnosed childhood central nervous system (CNS) primitive neuroectodermal tumors, the tumor itself has not been treated. The child may have received drugs or treatment to relieve symptoms caused by the tumor.

Children older than 3 years

Standard treatment of CNS primitive neuroectodermal tumors in children older than 3 years is:

Children aged 3 years and younger

Standard treatment of CNS primitive neuroectodermal tumors in children aged 3 years and younger is:

  • Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by chemotherapy.

Other treatments that may be given after surgery include the following:

Treatment of CNS primitive neuroectodermal tumors in children aged 3 years and younger is often within a clinical trial. Clinical trials are studying new combinations of chemotherapy with stem cell rescue.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with untreated childhood supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Newly Diagnosed Childhood Medulloepithelioma and Ependymoblastoma

In newly diagnosed childhood medulloepithelioma and ependymoblastoma, the tumor itself has not been treated. The child may have received drugs or treatment to relieve symptoms caused by the tumor.

Children older than 3 years

Standard treatment of medulloepithelioma and ependymoblastoma in children older than 3 years includes the following:

Children aged 3 years and younger

Standard treatment of medulloepithelioma and ependymoblastoma in children aged 3 years and younger includes the following:

  • Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by chemotherapy.
  • High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue.
  • Radiation therapy, when the child is older.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations and schedules of chemotherapy or new combinations of chemotherapy with stem cell rescue.

Treatment of medulloepithelioma and ependymoblastoma in children aged 3 years and younger is often within a clinical trial.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with childhood ependymoblastoma and childhood medulloepithelioma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Newly Diagnosed Childhood Pineoblastoma

In newly diagnosed childhood pineoblastoma, the tumor itself has not been treated. The child may have received drugs or treatment to relieve symptoms caused by the tumor.

Children older than 3 years

Standard treatment of pineoblastoma in children older than 3 years includes the following:

Children aged 3 years and younger

Standard treatment of pineoblastoma in children aged 3 years and younger includes the following:

  • Biopsy to diagnose pineoblastoma followed by chemotherapy.
  • If the tumor responds to chemotherapy, radiation therapy is given when the child is older.
  • High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with untreated childhood pineoblastoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Recurrent Childhood Central Nervous System Embryonal Tumors and Pineoblastomas

The treatment of central nervous system (CNS) embryonal tumors and pineoblastoma that recur (come back) depends on:

  • The type of tumor.
  • Whether the tumor recurred where it first formed or has spread to other parts of the brain, spinal cord, or body.
  • The type of treatment given in the past.
  • How much time has passed since the initial treatment ended.
  • Whether the patient has signs or symptoms.

Treatment for recurrent childhood CNS embryonal tumors and pineoblastomas may include the following:

  • For children who previously received radiation therapy and chemotherapy, treatment may include repeat radiation at the site where the cancer started and where the tumor has spread. Stereotactic radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may also be used.
  • For infants and young children who previously received chemotherapy only and have a local recurrence, treatment may be chemotherapy with radiation therapy to the tumor and the area close to it. Surgery to remove the tumor may also be done.
  • For patients who previously received radiation therapy, high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell rescue may be used. It is not known whether this treatment improves survival.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent childhood central nervous system embryonal tumor. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

  • Updated: December 11, 2014