Medline: 10867564

Pediatric Neurosurgery 32(3): 154-162, 2000.

Initial management of children with hypothalamic and thalamic tumors and the modifying role of neurofibromatosis-1.

Allen JC


Diencephalic gliomas may be grouped into 2 clinical categories. Optic pathway/hypothalamus gliomas (OPG) arise primarily from a slower-growing juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, and thalamic gliomas arise primarily from a fibrillary astrocytoma which can become clinically and histologically more aggressive. Children with OPG have an excellent long-term prognosis with a 10-year survival of over 85%. The major therapeutic challenge for these patients is to maximize their quality of life by preserving visual and endocrine function while minimizing treatment-related morbidity. Treatment is often initiated at diagnosis in infants and toddlers who have a major visual impairment or the diencephalic syndrome. The judicious application of chemotherapy may serve to forestall the need for radiotherapy or surgery. Children with neurofibromatosis-1 (NF-1) usually have a more indolent course. Tumors may grow more slowly or occasionally regress spontaneously. However, over 90% of children with OPG without NF-1 will require some form of therapy. Patients with thalamic gliomas present with a shorter history, often with hydrocephalus. Surgical intervention is often required to relieve intracranial pressure and establish the histologic identity of the tumor. Over 75% of these tumors will become locally aggressive. Current multimodality therapy is relatively ineffective. The bithalamic variant behaves similarly to a pontine glioma. Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

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