Childhood Astrocytomas Treatment (PDQ®)

As a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a core part of our mission is to educate patients and the community about cancer. The following summary is trusted information from the NCI.

General Information

The NCI provides the PDQ pediatric cancer treatment information summaries as a public service to increase the availability of evidence-based cancer information to health professionals, patients, and the public. The PDQ Childhood brain tumor treatment summaries are organized primarily according to the World Health Organization classification of nervous system tumors.

Dramatic improvements in survival have been achieved for children and adolescents with cancer. Between 1975 and 2002, childhood cancer mortality has decreased by more than 50%. Childhood and adolescent cancer survivors require close follow-up because cancer therapy side effects may persist or develop months or years after treatment. Refer to the PDQ summary on Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer for specific information about the incidence, type, and monitoring of late effects in childhood and adolescent cancer survivors.

Primary brain tumors are a diverse group of diseases that together constitute the most common solid tumor of childhood. Brain tumors are classified according to histology, but tumor location and extent of spread are important factors that affect treatment and prognosis. Immunohistochemical analysis, cytogenetic and molecular genetic findings, and measures of mitotic activity are increasingly used in tumor diagnosis and classification. Refer to the PDQ summary on Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors for information about the general classification of childhood brain and spinal cord tumors.

Clinicopathologic Classification of Childhood Astrocytomas and Other Tumors of Glial Origin

The pathologic classification of pediatric brain tumors is a specialized area that is undergoing evolution; review of the diagnostic tissue by a neuropathologist who has particular expertise in this area is strongly recommended.

Childhood astrocytomas and other tumors of glial origin are classified according to clinicopathologic and histologic subtype and are histologically graded from grade I to IV according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) histologic typing of central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Tumor types are based on the glial cell type of origin: astrocytomas (astrocytes), oligodendroglial tumors (oligodendrocytes), mixed gliomas (cell types of origin include oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, and ependymal cells) and neuronal tumors (with or without an astrocytic component).

WHO histologic grades are commonly referred to as low-grade gliomas or high-grade gliomas (see Table 1).

Table 1. World Health Organization (WHO) Histologic Grade and Corresponding Classification for Tumors of the Central Nervous SystemWHO Histologic GradeGrade ClassificationILow-grade IILow-grade IIIHigh-grade IVHigh-grade

In 2007, the WHO further categorized astrocytomas, oligodendroglial tumors, and mixed gliomas according to histopathologic features and biologic behavior. It was determined that the pilomyxoid variant of pilocytic astrocytoma may be a more aggressive variant and may be more likely to disseminate, and it was reclassified by the WHO as a grade II tumor (see Table 2).

Table 2. Histologic Grade of Childhood Astrocytomas and Other Tumors of Glial OriginTypeWHO Histologic GradeAstrocytic Tumors: Pilocytic astrocytomaIPilomyxoid astrocytomaIIPleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma IISubependymal giant cell astrocytomaIDiffuse astrocytoma: Gemistocytic astrocytoma IIProtoplasmic astrocytomaIIFibrillary astrocytomaIIAnaplastic astrocytoma IIIGlioblastomaIVOligodendroglial Tumors:OligodendrogliomaIIAnaplastic oligodendrogliomaIIIMixed Gliomas: OligoastrocytomaII Anaplastic oligoastrocytomaIII

Childhood astrocytomas and other tumors of glial origin can occur anywhere in the CNS, although each tumor type tends to have preferential CNS locations (see Table 3).

Table 3. Childhood Astrocytomas and Other Tumors of Glial Origin and Preferential Central Nervous System (CNS) LocationTumor TypePreferential CNS locationPilocytic astrocytomaOptic nerve, optic chiasm/hypothalamus, thalamus and basal ganglia, cerebral hemispheres, cerebellum, brain stem, and spinal cord (rare)Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomaSuperficial location in cerebrum (temporal lobe preferentially)Diffuse astrocytoma (including fibrillary)Cerebrum (frontal and temporal lobes), brain stem, spinal cord, optic nerve, optic chiasm, optic pathway, hypothalamus, and thalamusAnaplastic astrocytoma, glioblastoma Cerebrum; occasionally cerebellum, brain stem, and spinal cordOligodendrogliomasCerebrum (frontal lobe preferentially followed by temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes), cerebellum, brain stem, and spinal cordOligoastrocytomaCerebral hemispheres (frontal lobe preferentially followed by the temporal lobe)Gliomatosis cerebriCerebrum with or without brain stem involvement, cerebellum, and spinal cord

More than 80% of astrocytomas located in the cerebellum are low-grade (pilocytic grade I) and often cystic; most of the remainder are diffuse grade II astrocytomas. Malignant astrocytomas in the cerebellum are rare. The presence of certain histologic features has been used retrospectively to predict event-free survival for pilocytic astrocytomas arising in the cerebellum or other location.

Children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) have an increased propensity to develop WHO grade I and II astrocytomas in the visual pathway; approximately 20% of all patients with NF1 will develop a visual pathway glioma. In these patients, the tumor may be found on screening evaluations when the child is asymptomatic or has apparent static neurologic and/or visual deficits. Pathologic confirmation is frequently not obtained in asymptomatic patients, and when biopsies have been performed, these tumors have been found to be predominantly pilocytic (grade I) rather than fibrillary (grade II) astrocytomas. In general, treatment is not required for incidental tumors found with surveillance scans. Symptomatic lesions or those that have radiographically progressed may require treatment.

Genomic alterations involving BRAF are very common in sporadic cases of pilocytic astrocytoma, resulting in activation of the ERK/MAPK pathway. BRAF activation occurs commonly through a gene fusion between KIAA1549 and BRAF producing a fusion protein that lacks the BRAF regulatory domain. This fusion is seen in the majority of cerebellar pilocytic astrocytomas but less commonly at other sites (e.g., diencephalic, cerebral, and brain stem). Genomic alterations in pilocytic astrocytomas that activate the ERK/MAPK pathway are less commonly observed. Activating BRAF genomic alterations are uncommon in pilocytic astrocytoma associated with neurofibromatosis 1.

Gliomatosis cerebri is a diffuse glioma that involves widespread involvement of the cerebral hemispheres in which it may be confined, but it often extends caudally to affect the brainstem, cerebellum, and/or spinal cord. It rarely arises in the cerebellum and spreads rostrally. The neoplastic cells are most commonly astrocytes, but in some cases, they are oligodendroglia. Although they occur primarily in adults, more than 100 cases have been observed in children. They may respond to treatment initially, but overall have a poor prognosis.

The molecular signature of pediatric high–grade astrocytomas varies markedly from adult high–grade astrocytomas. Molecular features of pediatric high–grade astrocytomas are more akin to the genetic aberrations seen in adult glioblastoma that arise from pre-existing lower-grade gliomas (so-called secondary glioblastoma). These include a higher incidence of TP53 mutations, a lower incidence of PTEN and P16INK4A mutations and the presence of PDGF/PDGFR overexpression.

Prognosis

Low-grade astrocytomas

Low-grade astrocytomas (grade I [pilocytic] and grade II) have a relatively favorable prognosis, particularly for circumscribed, grade I lesions where complete excision may be possible. Tumor spread, when it occurs, is usually by contiguous extension; dissemination to other CNS sites is uncommon. Although metastasis is uncommon, tumors may be of multifocal origin, especially when associated with neurofibromatosis type 1.

High-grade astrocytomas

High-grade astrocytomas are often locally invasive and extensive and tend to occur above the tentorium. Spread via the subarachnoid space may occur. Metastasis outside of the CNS has been reported but is extremely infrequent until multiple local relapses have occurred. Biologic markers, such as p53 overexpression and mutation status, may be useful predictors of outcome in patients with high-grade gliomas. MIB-1 labeling index, a marker of cellular proliferative activity, is predictive of outcome in childhood malignant brain tumors. Both histologic classification and proliferative activity evaluation have been shown to be independently associated with survival. Although high-grade astrocytoma carries a generally poor prognosis in younger patients, those with anaplastic astrocytoma and those in whom a gross total resection is possible may fare better.

Disease Presentation

Presenting symptoms for childhood astrocytomas depend not only on CNS location, but also size of tumor, rate of growth, and chronologic and developmental age of the child.

References:
  • Louis DN, Ohgaki H, Wiestler OD, et al., eds.: WHO Classification of Tumours of the Central Nervous System. 4th ed. Lyon, France: IARC Press, 2007.
  • Louis DN, Ohgaki H, Wiestler OD, et al.: The 2007 WHO classification of tumours of the central nervous system. Acta Neuropathol 114 (2): 97-109, 2007.
  • Smith MA, Seibel NL, Altekruse SF, et al.: Outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer: challenges for the twenty-first century. J Clin Oncol 28 (15): 2625-34, 2010.
  • Komotar RJ, Burger PC, Carson BS, et al.: Pilocytic and pilomyxoid hypothalamic/chiasmatic astrocytomas. Neurosurgery 54 (1): 72-9; discussion 79-80, 2004.
  • Tibbetts KM, Emnett RJ, Gao F, et al.: Histopathologic predictors of pilocytic astrocytoma event-free survival. Acta Neuropathol 117 (6): 657-65, 2009.
  • Rodriguez FJ, Scheithauer BW, Burger PC, et al.: Anaplasia in pilocytic astrocytoma predicts aggressive behavior. Am J Surg Pathol 34 (2): 147-60, 2010.
  • Listernick R, Darling C, Greenwald M, et al.: Optic pathway tumors in children: the effect of neurofibromatosis type 1 on clinical manifestations and natural history. J Pediatr 127 (5): 718-22, 1995.
  • Rosai J, Sobin LH, eds.: Dysgenetic syndromes. In: Rosai J, Sobin LH, eds.: Atlas of Tumor Pathology. Third Series. Washington, DC : Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, 1994., pp 379-90.
  • Allen JC: Initial management of children with hypothalamic and thalamic tumors and the modifying role of neurofibromatosis-1. Pediatr Neurosurg 32 (3): 154-62, 2000.
  • Molloy PT, Bilaniuk LT, Vaughan SN, et al.: Brainstem tumors in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1: a distinct clinical entity. Neurology 45 (10): 1897-902, 1995.
  • Bar EE, Lin A, Tihan T, et al.: Frequent gains at chromosome 7q34 involving BRAF in pilocytic astrocytoma. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 67 (9): 878-87, 2008.
  • Forshew T, Tatevossian RG, Lawson AR, et al.: Activation of the ERK/MAPK pathway: a signature genetic defect in posterior fossa pilocytic astrocytomas. J Pathol 218 (2): 172-81, 2009.
  • Jones DT, Kocialkowski S, Liu L, et al.: Tandem duplication producing a novel oncogenic BRAF fusion gene defines the majority of pilocytic astrocytomas. Cancer Res 68 (21): 8673-7, 2008.
  • Jones DT, Kocialkowski S, Liu L, et al.: Oncogenic RAF1 rearrangement and a novel BRAF mutation as alternatives to KIAA1549:BRAF fusion in activating the MAPK pathway in pilocytic astrocytoma. Oncogene 28 (20): 2119-23, 2009.
  • Pfister S, Janzarik WG, Remke M, et al.: BRAF gene duplication constitutes a mechanism of MAPK pathway activation in low-grade astrocytomas. J Clin Invest 118 (5): 1739-49, 2008.
  • Korshunov A, Meyer J, Capper D, et al.: Combined molecular analysis of BRAF and IDH1 distinguishes pilocytic astrocytoma from diffuse astrocytoma. Acta Neuropathol 118 (3): 401-5, 2009.
  • Horbinski C, Hamilton RL, Nikiforov Y, et al.: Association of molecular alterations, including BRAF, with biology and outcome in pilocytic astrocytomas. Acta Neuropathol 119 (5): 641-9, 2010.
  • Janzarik WG, Kratz CP, Loges NT, et al.: Further evidence for a somatic KRAS mutation in a pilocytic astrocytoma. Neuropediatrics 38 (2): 61-3, 2007.
  • Yu J, Deshmukh H, Gutmann RJ, et al.: Alterations of BRAF and HIPK2 loci predominate in sporadic pilocytic astrocytoma. Neurology 73 (19): 1526-31, 2009.
  • Rorke-Adams LB, Portnoy H: Long-term survival of an infant with gliomatosis cerebelli. J Neurosurg Pediatr 2 (5): 346-50, 2008.
  • Armstrong GT, Phillips PC, Rorke-Adams LB, et al.: Gliomatosis cerebri: 20 years of experience at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Cancer 107 (7): 1597-606, 2006.
  • Paugh BS, Qu C, Jones C, et al.: Integrated molecular genetic profiling of pediatric high-grade gliomas reveals key differences with the adult disease. J Clin Oncol 28 (18): 3061-8, 2010.
  • Bax DA, Mackay A, Little SE, et al.: A distinct spectrum of copy number aberrations in pediatric high-grade gliomas. Clin Cancer Res 16 (13): 3368-77, 2010.
  • Ward SJ, Karakoula K, Phipps KP, et al.: Cytogenetic analysis of paediatric astrocytoma using comparative genomic hybridisation and fluorescence in-situ hybridisation. J Neurooncol 98 (3): 305-18, 2010.
  • Pollack IF: Brain tumors in children. N Engl J Med 331 (22): 1500-7, 1994.
  • Hoffman HJ, Berger MS, Becker LE: Cerebellar astrocytomas. In: Deutsch M, ed.: Management of Childhood Brain Tumors. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990, pp 441-56.
  • Fisher PG, Tihan T, Goldthwaite PT, et al.: Outcome analysis of childhood low-grade astrocytomas. Pediatr Blood Cancer 51 (2): 245-50, 2008.
  • Pfister S, Witt O: Pediatric gliomas. Recent Results Cancer Res 171: 67-81, 2009.
  • Qaddoumi I, Sultan I, Gajjar A: Outcome and prognostic features in pediatric gliomas: a review of 6212 cases from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database. Cancer 115 (24): 5761-70, 2009.
  • Civitello LA, Packer RJ, Rorke LB, et al.: Leptomeningeal dissemination of low-grade gliomas in childhood. Neurology 38 (4): 562-6, 1988.
  • Pollack IF, Finkelstein SD, Woods J, et al.: Expression of p53 and prognosis in children with malignant gliomas. N Engl J Med 346 (6): 420-7, 2002.
  • Rood BR, MacDonald TJ: Pediatric high-grade glioma: molecular genetic clues for innovative therapeutic approaches. J Neurooncol 75 (3): 267-72, 2005.
  • Pollack IF, Hamilton RL, Burnham J, et al.: Impact of proliferation index on outcome in childhood malignant gliomas: results in a multi-institutional cohort. Neurosurgery 50 (6): 1238-44; discussion 1244-5, 2002.
  • Finlay JL, Boyett JM, Yates AJ, et al.: Randomized phase III trial in childhood high-grade astrocytoma comparing vincristine, lomustine, and prednisone with the eight-drugs-in-1-day regimen. Childrens Cancer Group. J Clin Oncol 13 (1): 112-23, 1995.
  • Villano JL, Seery TE, Bressler LR: Temozolomide in malignant gliomas: current use and future targets. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 64 (4): 647-55, 2009.

Stage Information

There is no generally recognized staging system for childhood astrocytomas. For the purposes of this summary, childhood astrocytomas will be described as low-grade astrocytoma (pilocytic astrocytomas and diffuse fibrillary astrocytomas) or high-grade astrocytoma (anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastoma) and as untreated or recurrent.

Treatment Option Overview

Many of the improvements in survival in childhood cancer have been made as a result of clinical trials that have attempted to improve on the best available, accepted therapy. Clinical trials in pediatrics are designed to compare new therapy with therapy that is currently accepted as standard. This comparison may be done in a randomized study of two treatment arms or by evaluating a single new treatment and comparing the results with those that were previously obtained with existing therapy.

Because of the relative rarity of cancer in children, all patients with brain tumors should be considered for entry into a clinical trial. To determine and implement optimum treatment, treatment planning by a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists who have experience treating childhood brain tumors is required. Radiation therapy of pediatric brain tumors is technically very demanding and should be carried out in centers that have experience in that area in order to ensure optimal results.

Debilitating effects on growth and neurologic development have frequently been observed following radiation therapy, especially in younger children. There are also other less-common complications of radiation therapy, including cerebrovascular accidents. For this reason, the role of chemotherapy in allowing a delay in the administration of radiation therapy is under study, and preliminary results suggest that chemotherapy can be used to delay, and sometimes obviate, the need for radiation therapy in children with benign and malignant lesions. Long-term management of these patients is complex and requires a multidisciplinary approach.

References:
  • Packer RJ, Sutton LN, Atkins TE, et al.: A prospective study of cognitive function in children receiving whole-brain radiotherapy and chemotherapy: 2-year results. J Neurosurg 70 (5): 707-13, 1989.
  • Johnson DL, McCabe MA, Nicholson HS, et al.: Quality of long-term survival in young children with medulloblastoma. J Neurosurg 80 (6): 1004-10, 1994.
  • Packer RJ, Sutton LN, Goldwein JW, et al.: Improved survival with the use of adjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of medulloblastoma. J Neurosurg 74 (3): 433-40, 1991.
  • Bowers DC, Mulne AF, Reisch JS, et al.: Nonperioperative strokes in children with central nervous system tumors. Cancer 94 (4): 1094-101, 2002.
  • Duffner PK, Horowitz ME, Krischer JP, et al.: Postoperative chemotherapy and delayed radiation in children less than three years of age with malignant brain tumors. N Engl J Med 328 (24): 1725-31, 1993.

Treatment of Childhood Low–Grade Astrocytomas

To determine and implement optimum management, treatment is often guided by a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists who have experience treating childhood brain tumors.

In infants and young children, low-grade astrocytomas presenting in the hypothalamus may result in the diencephalic syndrome, which is manifested by failure to thrive in an emaciated, seemingly euphoric child. Such children may have little in the way of other neurologic findings, but can have macrocephaly, intermittent lethargy, and visual impairment. Because the location of these tumors makes a surgical approach difficult, biopsies are not always done. This is especially true in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). When associated with NF1, tumors may be of multifocal origin.

For children with low-grade optic pathway astrocytomas, treatment options should be considered not only to improve survival but also to stabilize visual function. Children with isolated optic nerve tumors have a better prognosis than those with lesions that involve the chiasm or that extend along the visual pathway.; [Level of evidence: 3iiC] Children with NF1 also have a better prognosis, especially when the tumor is found in asymptomatic patients at the time of screening. Observation is an option for patients with NF1 or nonprogressive masses. Spontaneous regressions of optic pathway gliomas have been reported in children with and without NF1.

Surgery

Surgical resection is the primary treatment for childhood low-grade astrocytoma and surgical feasibility is determined by tumor location. For example, complete or near complete removal can be obtained in 90% to 95% of patients with pilocytic tumors that occur in the cerebellum. Similarly, circumscribed, grade I hemispheric tumors are often amenable to complete surgical resection. For children with isolated optic nerve lesions and progressive symptoms, complete surgical resection or local radiation therapy may result in prolonged progression-free survival. Diffuse astrocytomas may be less amenable to total resection, and this may account for the poorer outcome. The extent of resection necessary for cure is unknown because patients with microscopic and even gross residual tumor after surgery may experience long-term progression-free survival without postoperative therapy. The long-term functional outcome of cerebellar pilocytic astrocytomas is relatively favorable. Full-scale mean IQs of patients with low-grade gliomas treated with surgery alone are close to the normative population. However, long-term medical, psychological, and educational deficits may be present in patients treated with surgery alone.[Level of evidence: 3iiiC]

Low-grade astrocytomas that occur in midline structures (e.g., hypothalamus, thalamus, brain stem, and spinal cord) can also be aggressively resected, with resultant long-term disease control;; [Level of evidence: 3iiiA] however, such resection may result in significant neurologic sequelae, especially in children younger than 2 years at diagnosis.; [Level of evidence: 3iC] Because of the infiltrative nature of some deep-seated lesions, extensive surgical resection may not be appropriate and biopsy only should be considered.[Level of evidence: 3iiiDiii] Treatment options for patients with incompletely resected tumor must be individualized and may include observation, a second resection, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. A shunt or other cerebrospinal fluid diversion procedure may be needed.

Observation

Following resection, immediate (within 48 hours of resection per Children's Oncology Group [COG] criteria) postoperative magnetic resonance imaging is obtained. Surveillance scans are then obtained periodically for completely resected tumors, although the value following the initial 3- to 6-month postoperative period is uncertain.; [Level of evidence: 3iiDiii] In selected patients in whom a portion of the tumor has been resected, the patient may also be observed without further disease-directed treatment, particularly if the pace of tumor regrowth is anticipated to be very slow.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is usually reserved until progressive disease is documented, and its use may be further delayed through the use of chemotherapy, a strategy that is commonly employed in young children. Radiation therapy results in long-term disease control for most children with chiasmatic and posterior pathway chiasmatic gliomas, but may also result in substantial intellectual and endocrinologic sequelae, cerebrovascular damage, and possibly an increased risk of secondary tumors.; [Level of evidence: 2C] An alternative to immediate radiation therapy is subtotal surgical resection, but it is unclear how many patients will have stable disease and for how long. Radiation therapy and alkylating agents are used as a last resort for patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), given the theoretically heightened risk of inducing neurologic toxic effects and second malignancy in this population. Children with NF1 may be at higher risk for radiation-associated secondary tumors and morbidity due to vascular changes.

For those children with low-grade glioma for whom radiation therapy is indicated, conformal radiation therapy or stereotactic radiosurgery approaches appear effective and offer the potential for reducing the acute and long-term toxicities associated with this modality.; [Level of evidence: 2A]; [Level of evidence: 2C]; [Level of evidence: 3iiiDi]; [Level of evidence: 3iiiDiii]

Chemotherapy

Given the side effects associated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy may be particularly appropriate for patients with NF1 and for younger children.

Chemotherapy may result in objective tumor shrinkage and will delay the need for radiation therapy in most patients. Chemotherapy has been shown to shrink tumors in children with hypothalamic gliomas and the diencephalic syndrome, resulting in weight gain in those who respond to treatment.

The most widely used regimens to treat progression or symptomatic nonresectable, low-grade gliomas are carboplatin with or without vincristine or a combination of thioguanine, procarbazine, lomustine, and vincristine. Other chemotherapy approaches have been employed to treat children with progressive low–grade astrocytomas, including multiagent platinum-based regimens ; [Level of evidence: 2Diii] and temozolomide.

Reported 5-year progression-free survival rates have ranged from approximately 35% to 60% for children receiving platinum-based chemotherapy for optic pathway gliomas, but most patients ultimately require further treatment.

Among children receiving chemotherapy for optic pathway gliomas, those without NF1 have higher rates of disease progression than those with NF1, and infants have higher rates of disease progression than do children older than 1 year. Whether vision is improved or just stabilized with chemotherapy is unclear.[Level of evidence: 3iiiC]

The COG completed a randomized phase III trial, COG-A9952, that treated children younger than 10 years with low-grade chiasmatic/hypothalamic gliomas on one of two regimens: carboplatin and vincristine or thioguanine (6-thioguanine), lomustine, and procarbazine hydrochloride given with vincristine. Children with NF1 were treated only on the carboplatin and vincristine arm. Study results are pending.

Most children with tuberous sclerosis have a mutation in one of two tuberous sclerosis genes (TSC1/hamartin or TSC2/tuberin). Either of these mutations results in an overexpression of the mTOR complex 1. These children are at risk for the development of subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGA), in addition to cortical tubers and subependymal nodules. For children with symptomatic SEGAs, agents that inhibit mTOR (e.g., everolimus and sirolimus) have been shown in small series to cause significant reductions in the size of these tumors, often eliminating the need for surgery.[Level of evidence: 2C]; [Level of evidence: 3iiiC] Whether reduction in size of the mass is durable, obviating the need for future surgery, is currently unknown.

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation

Early-phase therapeutic trials may be available for selected patients. These trials may be available via Children's Oncology Group phase I institutions, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, or other entities. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with childhood low-grade cerebellar astrocytoma and childhood low-grade cerebral astrocytoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

References:
  • Schneider JH Jr, Raffel C, McComb JG: Benign cerebellar astrocytomas of childhood. Neurosurgery 30 (1): 58-62; discussion 62-3, 1992.
  • Due-Tønnessen BJ, Helseth E, Scheie D, et al.: Long-term outcome after resection of benign cerebellar astrocytomas in children and young adults (0-19 years): report of 110 consecutive cases. Pediatr Neurosurg 37 (2): 71-80, 2002.
  • Nicolin G, Parkin P, Mabbott D, et al.: Natural history and outcome of optic pathway gliomas in children. Pediatr Blood Cancer 53 (7): 1231-7, 2009.
  • Campbell JW, Pollack IF: Cerebellar astrocytomas in children. J Neurooncol 28 (2-3): 223-31, 1996 May-Jun.
  • Massimi L, Tufo T, Di Rocco C: Management of optic-hypothalamic gliomas in children: still a challenging problem. Expert Rev Anticancer Ther 7 (11): 1591-610, 2007.
  • Campagna M, Opocher E, Viscardi E, et al.: Optic pathway glioma: long-term visual outcome in children without neurofibromatosis type-1. Pediatr Blood Cancer 55 (6): 1083-8, 2010.
  • Hayostek CJ, Shaw EG, Scheithauer B, et al.: Astrocytomas of the cerebellum. A comparative clinicopathologic study of pilocytic and diffuse astrocytomas. Cancer 72 (3): 856-69, 1993.
  • Listernick R, Ferner RE, Liu GT, et al.: Optic pathway gliomas in neurofibromatosis-1: controversies and recommendations. Ann Neurol 61 (3): 189-98, 2007.
  • Wisoff JH, Abbott R, Epstein F: Surgical management of exophytic chiasmatic-hypothalamic tumors of childhood. J Neurosurg 73 (5): 661-7, 1990.
  • Albright AL: Feasibility and advisability of resections of thalamic tumors in pediatric patients. J Neurosurg 100 (5 Suppl Pediatrics): 468-72, 2004.
  • Piccirilli M, Lenzi J, Delfinis C, et al.: Spontaneous regression of optic pathways gliomas in three patients with neurofibromatosis type I and critical review of the literature. Childs Nerv Syst 22 (10): 1332-7, 2006.
  • Berger MS, Ghatan S, Haglund MM, et al.: Low-grade gliomas associated with intractable epilepsy: seizure outcome utilizing electrocorticography during tumor resection. J Neurosurg 79 (1): 62-9, 1993.
  • Pollack IF, Claassen D, al-Shboul Q, et al.: Low-grade gliomas of the cerebral hemispheres in children: an analysis of 71 cases. J Neurosurg 82 (4): 536-47, 1995.
  • Jenkin D, Angyalfi S, Becker L, et al.: Optic glioma in children: surveillance, resection, or irradiation? Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 25 (2): 215-25, 1993.
  • Turner CD, Chordas CA, Liptak CC, et al.: Medical, psychological, cognitive and educational late-effects in pediatric low-grade glioma survivors treated with surgery only. Pediatr Blood Cancer 53 (3): 417-23, 2009.
  • Daszkiewicz P, Maryniak A, Roszkowski M, et al.: Long-term functional outcome of surgical treatment of juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma of the cerebellum in children. Childs Nerv Syst 25 (7): 855-60, 2009.
  • Tseng JH, Tseng MY: Survival analysis of 81 children with primary spinal gliomas: a population-based study. Pediatr Neurosurg 42 (6): 347-53, 2006.
  • Milano MT, Johnson MD, Sul J, et al.: Primary spinal cord glioma: a Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database study. J Neurooncol 98 (1): 83-92, 2010.
  • Scheinemann K, Bartels U, Huang A, et al.: Survival and functional outcome of childhood spinal cord low-grade gliomas. Clinical article. J Neurosurg Pediatr 4 (3): 254-61, 2009.
  • Sawamura Y, Kamada K, Kamoshima Y, et al.: Role of surgery for optic pathway/hypothalamic astrocytomas in children. Neuro Oncol 10 (5): 725-33, 2008.
  • Sutton LN, Cnaan A, Klatt L, et al.: Postoperative surveillance imaging in children with cerebellar astrocytomas. J Neurosurg 84 (5): 721-5, 1996.
  • Dorward IG, Luo J, Perry A, et al.: Postoperative imaging surveillance in pediatric pilocytic astrocytomas. J Neurosurg Pediatr 6 (4): 346-52, 2010.
  • Fisher BJ, Leighton CC, Vujovic O, et al.: Results of a policy of surveillance alone after surgical management of pediatric low grade gliomas. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 51 (3): 704-10, 2001.
  • Packer RJ, Ater J, Allen J, et al.: Carboplatin and vincristine chemotherapy for children with newly diagnosed progressive low-grade gliomas. J Neurosurg 86 (5): 747-54, 1997.
  • Gnekow AK, Kortmann RD, Pietsch T, et al.: Low grade chiasmatic-hypothalamic glioma-carboplatin and vincristin chemotherapy effectively defers radiotherapy within a comprehensive treatment strategy -- report from the multicenter treatment study for children and adolescents with a low grade glioma -- HIT-LGG 1996 -- of the Society of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology (GPOH). Klin Padiatr 216 (6): 331-42, 2004 Nov-Dec.
  • Tao ML, Barnes PD, Billett AL, et al.: Childhood optic chiasm gliomas: radiographic response following radiotherapy and long-term clinical outcome. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 39 (3): 579-87, 1997.
  • Khafaga Y, Hassounah M, Kandil A, et al.: Optic gliomas: a retrospective analysis of 50 cases. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 56 (3): 807-12, 2003.
  • Merchant TE, Conklin HM, Wu S, et al.: Late effects of conformal radiation therapy for pediatric patients with low-grade glioma: prospective evaluation of cognitive, endocrine, and hearing deficits. J Clin Oncol 27 (22): 3691-7, 2009.
  • Grill J, Couanet D, Cappelli C, et al.: Radiation-induced cerebral vasculopathy in children with neurofibromatosis and optic pathway glioma. Ann Neurol 45 (3): 393-6, 1999.
  • Marcus KJ, Goumnerova L, Billett AL, et al.: Stereotactic radiotherapy for localized low-grade gliomas in children: final results of a prospective trial. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 61 (2): 374-9, 2005.
  • Combs SE, Schulz-Ertner D, Moschos D, et al.: Fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy of optic pathway gliomas: tolerance and long-term outcome. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 62 (3): 814-9, 2005.
  • Merchant TE, Kun LE, Wu S, et al.: Phase II trial of conformal radiation therapy for pediatric low-grade glioma. J Clin Oncol 27 (22): 3598-604, 2009.
  • Kano H, Niranjan A, Kondziolka D, et al.: Stereotactic radiosurgery for pilocytic astrocytomas part 2: outcomes in pediatric patients. J Neurooncol 95 (2): 219-29, 2009.
  • Laithier V, Grill J, Le Deley MC, et al.: Progression-free survival in children with optic pathway tumors: dependence on age and the quality of the response to chemotherapy--results of the first French prospective study for the French Society of Pediatric Oncology. J Clin Oncol 21 (24): 4572-8, 2003.
  • Prados MD, Edwards MS, Rabbitt J, et al.: Treatment of pediatric low-grade gliomas with a nitrosourea-based multiagent chemotherapy regimen. J Neurooncol 32 (3): 235-41, 1997.
  • Gropman AL, Packer RJ, Nicholson HS, et al.: Treatment of diencephalic syndrome with chemotherapy: growth, tumor response, and long term control. Cancer 83 (1): 166-72, 1998.
  • Gururangan S, Cavazos CM, Ashley D, et al.: Phase II study of carboplatin in children with progressive low-grade gliomas. J Clin Oncol 20 (13): 2951-8, 2002.
  • Massimino M, Spreafico F, Cefalo G, et al.: High response rate to cisplatin/etoposide regimen in childhood low-grade glioma. J Clin Oncol 20 (20): 4209-16, 2002.
  • Massimino M, Spreafico F, Riva D, et al.: A lower-dose, lower-toxicity cisplatin-etoposide regimen for childhood progressive low-grade glioma. J Neurooncol 100 (1): 65-71, 2010.
  • Gururangan S, Fisher MJ, Allen JC, et al.: Temozolomide in children with progressive low-grade glioma. Neuro Oncol 9 (2): 161-8, 2007.
  • Khaw SL, Coleman LT, Downie PA, et al.: Temozolomide in pediatric low-grade glioma. Pediatr Blood Cancer 49 (6): 808-11, 2007.
  • Moreno L, Bautista F, Ashley S, et al.: Does chemotherapy affect the visual outcome in children with optic pathway glioma? A systematic review of the evidence. Eur J Cancer 46 (12): 2253-9, 2010.
  • Krueger DA, Care MM, Holland K, et al.: Everolimus for subependymal giant-cell astrocytomas in tuberous sclerosis. N Engl J Med 363 (19): 1801-11, 2010.
  • Franz DN, Leonard J, Tudor C, et al.: Rapamycin causes regression of astrocytomas in tuberous sclerosis complex. Ann Neurol 59 (3): 490-8, 2006.

Treatment of Recurrent Childhood Low–Grade Astrocytomas

Childhood low-grade astrocytomas may recur many years after initial treatment. Recurrent disease is usually at the primary tumor site, though multifocal or widely disseminated disease to other intracranial sites and to the spinal leptomeninges has been documented. Most children whose low-grade fibrillary astrocytomas recur will harbor low-grade lesions; however, malignant transformation is possible.

At the time of recurrence, a complete evaluation to determine the extent of the relapse is indicated. Biopsy or surgical resection may be necessary for confirmation of relapse because other entities, such as secondary tumor and treatment-related brain necrosis, may be clinically indistinguishable from tumor recurrence. The need for surgical intervention must be individualized on the basis of the initial tumor type, the length of time between initial treatment and the reappearance of the mass lesion, and the clinical picture.

An individual plan needs to be tailored on the basis of patient age, tumor location, and prior treatment. If patients have not received radiation therapy, local radiation therapy is the usual treatment, although further chemotherapy in lieu of radiation may be considered.[Level of evidence: 3iiiDi] For those children with low-grade glioma for whom radiation therapy is indicated, conformal radiation therapy approaches appear effective and offer the potential for reducing the acute and long-term toxicities associated with this modality. In patients treated with surgery alone whose disease progresses, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy are options. If recurrence takes place after irradiation, chemotherapy should be considered. Chemotherapy may result in relatively long-term disease control. Temozolomide alone or drug combinations, such as carboplatin and vincristine, may be useful at the time of recurrence for children with low-grade gliomas.

Patients with low-grade astrocytomas who relapse after being treated with surgery alone should be considered for another surgical resection. If this is not feasible, local radiation therapy is the usual treatment. If there is recurrence in an unresectable site after irradiation, chemotherapy should be considered.

Entry into studies of novel therapeutic approaches should be considered for patients with recurrent brain tumors. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation

Early-phase therapeutic trials may be available for selected patients. These trials may be available via Children's Oncology Group phase I institutions, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, or other entities. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent childhood cerebral astrocytoma and recurrent childhood cerebellar astrocytoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

References:
  • Perilongo G, Carollo C, Salviati L, et al.: Diencephalic syndrome and disseminated juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas of the hypothalamic-optic chiasm region. Cancer 80 (1): 142-6, 1997.
  • Leibel SA, Sheline GE, Wara WM, et al.: The role of radiation therapy in the treatment of astrocytomas. Cancer 35 (6): 1551-7, 1975.
  • Giannini C, Scheithauer BW: Classification and grading of low-grade astrocytic tumors in children. Brain Pathol 7 (2): 785-98, 1997.
  • Jenkin D, Angyalfi S, Becker L, et al.: Optic glioma in children: surveillance, resection, or irradiation? Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 25 (2): 215-25, 1993.
  • de Haas V, Grill J, Raquin MA, et al.: Relapses of optic pathway tumors after first-line chemotherapy. Pediatr Blood Cancer 52 (5): 575-80, 2009.
  • Merchant TE, Conklin HM, Wu S, et al.: Late effects of conformal radiation therapy for pediatric patients with low-grade glioma: prospective evaluation of cognitive, endocrine, and hearing deficits. J Clin Oncol 27 (22): 3691-7, 2009.
  • Marcus KJ, Goumnerova L, Billett AL, et al.: Stereotactic radiotherapy for localized low-grade gliomas in children: final results of a prospective trial. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 61 (2): 374-9, 2005.
  • Packer RJ, Lange B, Ater J, et al.: Carboplatin and vincristine for recurrent and newly diagnosed low-grade gliomas of childhood. J Clin Oncol 11 (5): 850-6, 1993.
  • Gnekow AK, Kortmann RD, Pietsch T, et al.: Low grade chiasmatic-hypothalamic glioma-carboplatin and vincristin chemotherapy effectively defers radiotherapy within a comprehensive treatment strategy -- report from the multicenter treatment study for children and adolescents with a low grade glioma -- HIT-LGG 1996 -- of the Society of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology (GPOH). Klin Padiatr 216 (6): 331-42, 2004 Nov-Dec.
  • Gururangan S, Fisher MJ, Allen JC, et al.: Temozolomide in children with progressive low-grade glioma. Neuro Oncol 9 (2): 161-8, 2007.
  • Austin EJ, Alvord EC Jr: Recurrences of cerebellar astrocytomas: a violation of Collins' law. J Neurosurg 68 (1): 41-7, 1988.
  • Garcia DM, Marks JE, Latifi HR, et al.: Childhood cerebellar astrocytomas: is there a role for postoperative irradiation? Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 18 (4): 815-8, 1990.
  • Chamberlain MC, Grafe MR: Recurrent chiasmatic-hypothalamic glioma treated with oral etoposide. J Clin Oncol 13 (8): 2072-6, 1995.
  • Gaynon PS, Ettinger LJ, Baum ES, et al.: Carboplatin in childhood brain tumors. A Children's Cancer Study Group Phase II trial. Cancer 66 (12): 2465-9, 1990.

Treatment of Childhood High–Grade Astrocytomas

To determine and implement optimum management, treatment is often guided by a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists who have experience treating childhood brain tumors.

The therapy for both children and adults with supratentorial high-grade astrocytoma includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Outcome in high-grade gliomas occurring in childhood may be more favorable than that in adults, but it is not clear if this difference is caused by biologic variations in tumor characteristics, therapies used, tumor resectability, or other factors that are presently not understood. The ability to obtain a complete resection is associated with a better prognosis. Radiation therapy is administered to a field that widely encompasses the entire tumor. The radiation therapy dose to the tumor bed is usually at least 54 Gy. Despite such therapy, overall survival rates remain poor. Similarly poor survival is seen in children with spinal cord primaries. In one trial, children with glioblastoma who were treated on a prospective randomized trial with adjuvant lomustine, vincristine, and prednisone fared better than children treated with radiation therapy alone. Among patients treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and nitrosourea (lomustine)-based chemotherapy, 5-year progression-free survival was 19% ± 3%; survival was 40% in those who had total resections. Similarly, in a trial of multiagent chemoradiotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy in addition to valproic acid, 5-year event-free survival (EFS) was 13%, but for children with a complete resection of their tumor, the EFS was 48%.[Level of evidence: 2A] In adults, the addition of temozolomide during and after radiation therapy resulted in improved 2-year event-free survival as compared with treatment with radiation therapy alone. Adult patients with glioblastoma with a methylated O6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter benefited from temozolomide, whereas those who did not have a methylated MGMT promoter did not. The role of temozolomide given concurrently with radiation therapy for children with supratentorial high-grade glioma appears comparable to the outcome seen in children treated with nitrosourea-based therapy and again demonstrated a survival advantage for those children with a methylated MGMT promoter. Younger children may benefit from chemotherapy to delay, modify, or, in selected cases, obviate the need for radiation therapy. Clinical trials that evaluate chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy are ongoing. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation

The following is an example of a national and/or institutional clinical trial that is currently being conducted or is under analysis. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

  • COG-ACNS0822: The Children's Oncology Group is conducting a randomized phase II/III study of vorinostat and local radiation therapy or temozolomide and local radiation therapy or bevacizumab and radiation therapy followed by maintenance bevacizumab and temozolomide in newly diagnosed high-grade glioma.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with childhood high-grade cerebellar astrocytoma and childhood high-grade cerebral astrocytoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

References:
  • Rasheed BK, McLendon RE, Herndon JE, et al.: Alterations of the TP53 gene in human gliomas. Cancer Res 54 (5): 1324-30, 1994.
  • Wisoff JH, Boyett JM, Berger MS, et al.: Current neurosurgical management and the impact of the extent of resection in the treatment of malignant gliomas of childhood: a report of the Children's Cancer Group trial no. CCG-945. J Neurosurg 89 (1): 52-9, 1998.
  • Tendulkar RD, Pai Panandiker AS, Wu S, et al.: Irradiation of pediatric high-grade spinal cord tumors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 78 (5): 1451-6, 2010.
  • Sposto R, Ertel IJ, Jenkin RD, et al.: The effectiveness of chemotherapy for treatment of high grade astrocytoma in children: results of a randomized trial. A report from the Childrens Cancer Study Group. J Neurooncol 7 (2): 165-77, 1989.
  • Fouladi M, Hunt DL, Pollack IF, et al.: Outcome of children with centrally reviewed low-grade gliomas treated with chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy on Children's Cancer Group high-grade glioma study CCG-945. Cancer 98 (6): 1243-52, 2003.
  • Wolff JE, Driever PH, Erdlenbruch B, et al.: Intensive chemotherapy improves survival in pediatric high-grade glioma after gross total resection: results of the HIT-GBM-C protocol. Cancer 116 (3): 705-12, 2010.
  • Stupp R, Mason WP, van den Bent MJ, et al.: Radiotherapy plus concomitant and adjuvant temozolomide for glioblastoma. N Engl J Med 352 (10): 987-96, 2005.
  • Hegi ME, Diserens AC, Gorlia T, et al.: MGMT gene silencing and benefit from temozolomide in glioblastoma. N Engl J Med 352 (10): 997-1003, 2005.
  • Cohen KJ, Pollack IF, Zhou T, et al.: Temozolomide in the treatment of high-grade gliomas in children: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. Neuro Oncol 13 (3): 317-23, 2011.
  • Duffner PK, Horowitz ME, Krischer JP, et al.: Postoperative chemotherapy and delayed radiation in children less than three years of age with malignant brain tumors. N Engl J Med 328 (24): 1725-31, 1993.
  • Duffner PK, Krischer JP, Burger PC, et al.: Treatment of infants with malignant gliomas: the Pediatric Oncology Group experience. J Neurooncol 28 (2-3): 245-56, 1996 May-Jun.
  • Dufour C, Grill J, Lellouch-Tubiana A, et al.: High-grade glioma in children under 5 years of age: a chemotherapy only approach with the BBSFOP protocol. Eur J Cancer 42 (17): 2939-45, 2006.

Treatment of Recurrent Childhood High–Grade Astrocytomas

Most patients with high-grade astrocytomas or gliomas will eventually have tumor recurrence, usually within 3 years of original diagnosis but perhaps many years after initial treatment. Disease may recur at the primary tumor site, at the margin of the resection/radiation bed, or at noncontiguous central nervous system sites. Systemic relapse is rare but may occur. At the time of recurrence, a complete evaluation for extent of relapse is indicated for all malignant tumors. Biopsy or surgical resection may be necessary for confirmation of relapse because other entities, such as secondary tumor and treatment-related brain necrosis, may be clinically indistinguishable from tumor recurrence. The need for surgical intervention must be individualized on the basis of the initial tumor type, the length of time between initial treatment and the reappearance of the mass lesion, and the clinical picture.

Patients for whom initial treatment fails may benefit from additional treatment. High-dose, marrow-ablative chemotherapy with hematopoietic stem cell transplant may be effective in a subset of patients with minimal residual disease at time of treatment.; [Level of evidence: 3iiiA] Such patients should also be considered for entry into trials of novel therapeutic approaches. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation

Early-phase therapeutic trials may be available for selected patients. These trials may be available via Children's Oncology Group phase I institutions, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, or other entities. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent childhood cerebellar astrocytoma and recurrent childhood cerebral astrocytoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

References:
  • McCowage GB, Friedman HS, Moghrabi A, et al.: Activity of high-dose cyclophosphamide in the treatment of childhood malignant gliomas. Med Pediatr Oncol 30 (2): 75-80, 1998.
  • Finlay JL, Dhall G, Boyett JM, et al.: Myeloablative chemotherapy with autologous bone marrow rescue in children and adolescents with recurrent malignant astrocytoma: outcome compared with conventional chemotherapy: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. Pediatr Blood Cancer 51 (6): 806-11, 2008.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with childhood astrocytoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

More Information

About PDQ

Additional PDQ Summaries

Important:

This information is intended mainly for use by doctors and other health care professionals. If you have questions about this topic, you can ask your doctor, or call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

About This PDQ Summary

Purpose of This Summary

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the treatment of childhood astrocytomas. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions.

Reviewers and Updates

This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board. Board members review recently published articles each month to determine whether an article should:

  • be discussed at a meeting,
  • be cited with text, or
  • replace or update an existing article that is already cited.

Changes to the summaries are made through a consensus process in which Board members evaluate the strength of the evidence in the published articles and determine how the article should be included in the summary.

The lead reviewers for Childhood Astrocytomas Treatment are:

  • Kenneth J. Cohen, MD, MBA (Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital)
  • Roger J. Packer, MD (Children's National Medical Center)
  • Malcolm Smith, MD, PhD (National Cancer Institute)

Any comments or questions about the summary content should be submitted to Cancer.gov through the Web site's Contact Form. Do not contact the individual Board Members with questions or comments about the summaries. Board members will not respond to individual inquiries.

Levels of Evidence

Some of the reference citations in this summary are accompanied by a level-of-evidence designation. These designations are intended to help readers assess the strength of the evidence supporting the use of specific interventions or approaches. The PDQ Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board uses a formal evidence ranking system in developing its level-of-evidence designations.

Permission to Use This Summary

PDQ is a registered trademark. Although the content of PDQ documents can be used freely as text, it cannot be identified as an NCI PDQ cancer information summary unless it is presented in its entirety and is regularly updated. However, an author would be permitted to write a sentence such as "NCI's PDQ cancer information summary about breast cancer prevention states the risks succinctly: [include excerpt from the summary]."

The preferred citation for this PDQ summary is:

National Cancer Institute: PDQ® Childhood Astrocytomas Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Date last modified <MM/DD/YYYY>. Available at: http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/child-astrocytomas/HealthProfessional. Accessed <MM/DD/YYYY>.

Images in this summary are used with permission of the author(s), artist, and/or publisher for use within the PDQ summaries only. Permission to use images outside the context of PDQ information must be obtained from the owner(s) and cannot be granted by the National Cancer Institute. Information about using the illustrations in this summary, along with many other cancer-related images, is available in Visuals Online, a collection of over 2,000 scientific images.

Disclaimer

Based on the strength of the available evidence, treatment options may be described as either "standard" or "under clinical evaluation." These classifications should not be used as a basis for insurance reimbursement determinations. More information on insurance coverage is available on Cancer.gov on the Coping with Cancer: Financial, Insurance, and Legal Information page.

Contact Us

More information about contacting us or receiving help with the Cancer.gov Web site can be found on our Contact Us for Help page. Questions can also be submitted to Cancer.gov through the Web site's Contact Form.



Appointments

Or call 1-888-824-0200