Childhood Midline Tract Carcinoma with NUT Gene Changes Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version
General Information About Childhood Midline Tract Carcinoma
- Childhood midline tract carcinoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the respiratory tract or other places along the middle of the body.
- Midline tract carcinoma is sometimes caused by a change in the NUT gene.
- The signs and symptoms of midline tract carcinoma are not the same in every child.
- Tests that examine the body are used to help detect (find) and diagnose midline tract carcinoma.
- Midline tract carcinoma grows and spreads quickly.
Childhood midline tract carcinoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the respiratory tract or other places along the middle of the body.
The respiratory tract is made up of the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Midline tract carcinoma may also form in other places along the middle of the body, such as the thymus, the area between the lungs, the pancreas, liver, and bladder.
Midline tract carcinoma is sometimes caused by a change in the NUT gene.
Midline tract carcinoma is caused by a change in a chromosome. Every cell in the body contains DNA (genetic material stored inside chromosomes) that controls how the cell looks and acts. Midline tract cancer may form when part of the DNA from chromosome 15 (called the NUT gene) joins with the DNA from another chromosome or when there are other changes to the NUT gene.
The signs and symptoms of midline tract carcinoma are not the same in every child.
Tests that examine the body are used to help detect (find) and diagnose midline tract carcinoma.
The tests used to detect and diagnose midline tract carcinoma depend on where the cancer formed in the body and may include the following:
- Physical exam and history : An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas of the body, such as the head and neck. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
- CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
Biopsy : The removal of cells so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer.
The following test may be done on the sample of cells that was removed:
Midline tract carcinoma grows and spreads quickly.
Stages of Childhood Midline Tract Carcinoma
The process used to find out if cancer has spread from where it first began to nearby areas or to other parts of the body is called staging. There is no standard system for staging childhood midline tract carcinoma. The results of the tests and procedures done to diagnose midline tract carcinoma are used to help make decisions about treatment.
Treatment Option Overview
- There are different types of treatment for children with midline tract carcinoma.
- Children with midline tract carcinoma should have their treatment planned by a team of doctors who are experts in treating childhood cancer.
- Three types of treatment are used:
- Radiation therapy
- New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.
- Targeted therapy
- Treatment for childhood midline tract carcinoma may cause side effects.
- Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial.
- Patients can enter clinical trials before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment.
- Follow-up tests may be needed.
There are different types of treatment for children with midline tract carcinoma.
Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment.
Because cancer in children is rare, taking part in a clinical trial should be considered. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.
Children with midline tract carcinoma should have their treatment planned by a team of doctors who are experts in treating childhood cancer.
Treatment will be overseen by a pediatric oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer. The pediatric oncologist works with other pediatric health professionals who are experts in treating children with cancer and who specialize in certain areas of medicine. This may include the following specialists and others:
Three types of treatment are used:
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy).
New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.
This summary section describes treatments that are being studied in clinical trials. It may not mention every new treatment being studied. Information about clinical trials is available from the NCI website.
Targeted therapy is a treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. New targeted therapy drugs that stop cancer cells from growing are being studied to treat midline tract carcinoma.
Treatment for childhood midline tract carcinoma may cause side effects.
Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial.
For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.
Many of today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment or be among the first to receive a new treatment.
Patients who take part in clinical trials also help improve the way cancer will be treated in the future. Even when clinical trials do not lead to effective new treatments, they often answer important questions and help move research forward.
Patients can enter clinical trials before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment.
Some clinical trials only include patients who have not yet received treatment. Other trials test treatments for patients whose cancer has not gotten better. There are also clinical trials that test new ways to stop cancer from recurring (coming back) or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.
Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. See the Treatment Options section that follows for links to current treatment clinical trials. These have been retrieved from NCI's listing of clinical trials.
Follow-up tests may be needed.
Some of the tests that were done to diagnose the cancer or to find out the stage of the cancer may be repeated. Some tests will be repeated in order to see how well the treatment is working. Decisions about whether to continue, change, or stop treatment may be based on the results of these tests.
Some of the tests will continue to be done from time to time after treatment has ended. The results of these tests can show if your child's condition has changed or if the cancer has recurred (come back). These tests are sometimes called follow-up tests or check-ups.
Treatment Options for Childhood Midline Tract Carcinoma
For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section.
Newly Diagnosed Childhood Midline Tract Carcinoma
Recurrent Childhood Midline Tract Carcinoma
To Learn More About Childhood Midline Tract Carcinoma
For more childhood cancer information and other general cancer resources, see the following:
- About Cancer
- Childhood Cancers
- CureSearch for Children's Cancer
- Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer
- Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer
- Children with Cancer: A Guide for Parents
- Cancer in Children and Adolescents
- Coping with Cancer
- Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Cancer
- For Survivors and Caregivers
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This PDQ cancer information summary has current information about the treatment of childhood midline tract carcinoma. It is meant to inform and help patients, families, and caregivers. It does not give formal guidelines or recommendations for making decisions about health care.
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Clinical Trial Information
A clinical trial is a study to answer a scientific question, such as whether one treatment is better than another. Trials are based on past studies and what has been learned in the laboratory. Each trial answers certain scientific questions in order to find new and better ways to help cancer patients. During treatment clinical trials, information is collected about the effects of a new treatment and how well it works. If a clinical trial shows that a new treatment is better than one currently being used, the new treatment may become "standard." Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.
Clinical trials are listed in PDQ and can be found online at NCI's website. Many cancer doctors who take part in clinical trials are also listed in PDQ. For more information, call the Cancer Information Service 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
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PDQ® Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board. PDQ Childhood Midline Tract Carcinoma with NUT Gene Changes Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated <MM/DD/YYYY>. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/midline/patient-child-midline-tract-carcinoma-treatment-pdq. Accessed <MM/DD/YYYY>.
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