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Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors Treatment Overview (PDQ®)

Treatment of Newly Diagnosed and Recurrent Childhood Brain Tumors

The brain is made of different kinds of cells. Childhood brain tumors are grouped and treated based on the type of cell the cancer formed in and where the tumor began growing in the CNS. Some types of tumors are divided into subtypes based on how the tumor looks under a microscope. See Table 1 for a list of tumor types and staging and treatment information for newly diagnosed and recurrent childhood brain tumors.

Table 1. Newly Diagnosed or Recurrent Tumor Type and Its Related PDQ Treatment Summary
Tumor Type Tumor Subtype Related PDQ Treatment Summary
Astrocytomas and Other Tumors of Glial Origin    
Low-Grade Astrocytomas Diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma See Childhood Astrocytomas Treatment for information on low-grade astrocytomas.
Gemistocytic astrocytoma
Pilocytic astrocytoma
Pilomyxoid astrocytoma
Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma
Protoplasmic astrocytoma
Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma
High-Grade Astrocytomas Anaplastic astrocytoma See Childhood Astrocytomas Treatment for information on high-grade astrocytomas.
Anaplastic oligoastrocytoma
Anaplastic oligodendroglioma
Giant cell glioblastoma
Gliomatosis cerebri
Brain Stem Glioma    
  Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas See Childhood Brain Stem Glioma Treatment.
Focal or low-grade brain stem gliomas
Central Nervous System Embryonal Tumors    
Medulloblastoma Anaplastic See Childhood Central Nervous System Embryonal Tumors Treatment for information on medulloblastoma, central nervous system primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs), and tumors of the pineal region.
Large cell
Medulloblastoma with extensive nodularity
Central Nervous System Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors (PNETs) Central nervous system ganglioneuroblastoma
Central nervous system neuroblastoma
Tumors of the Pineal Region Pineoblastoma
Central Nervous System Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor   See Childhood Central Nervous System Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor Treatment.
Central Nervous System Germ Cell Tumors    
Teratomas Immature teratomas
Mature teratomas
Teratomas with malignant transformation
Non-Germinomatous Germ Cell Tumors Choriocarcinoma
Embryonal carcinoma
Mixed germ cell tumors
Yolk sac tumor
Craniopharyngioma   See Childhood Craniopharyngioma Treatment.
Ependymoma Subependymoma (WHO Grade I) See Childhood Ependymoma Treatment.
Myxopapillary ependymoma (WHO Grade I)
Ependymoma (WHO Grade II)
Anaplastic ependymoma (WHO Grade III)
Tumors of the Choroid Plexus    
  • Updated: March 27, 2015