Choroid plexus tumor
Treatment & Care
We know how difficult a diagnosis of a brain tumor can be, both for your child and for your whole family. That’s why our physicians are focused on family-centered care: From your first visit, you’ll work with a team of professionals who are committed to supporting all of your family’s physical and psychosocial needs. We’ll work with you to create a care plan that’s best for your child.
Your child’s physician will determine a specific course of treatment based on several factors, including:
- her age, overall health and medical history
- type, location, and size of the tumor
- extent of the disease
- your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
- how her doctors expects the disease to progress
There are a number of treatments we may recommend. Some of them help to treat the tumor while others are intended to address complications of the disease or side effects of the treatment. Treatments include:
Between 85 and 100 percent of children with choroid plexus papilloma (CPP) are treated successfully with complete removal of the tumor. For choroid plexus tumors, chemotherapy before surgery may help shrink the tumor, making it easier to remove. For patients with choroid plexus carcinoma (CPC), it’s important to remove as much of the tumor as possible, but additional treatment, usually radiation and chemotherapy, is needed.
Chemotherapy are drug treatments that work by interfering with the cancer cell's ability to grow or reproduce. Different groups of chemotherapy drugs work in different ways to fight cancer cells and shrink tumors.
How is chemotherapy given?
Your child may receive chemotherapy:
- orally, as a pill to swallow
- intramuscularly, as an injection into the muscle or fat tissue
- intravenously, directly to the bloodstream (intravenously, or “IV”)
- intrathecally, directly into the spinal fluid with a needle
Does chemotherapy cause side effects?
Often, yes. While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating certain cancers, the drugs do not differentiate normal healthy cells from cancer cells. Because of this, your child may experience adverse side effects during treatment. Being able to anticipate these side effects can help you, your child and your care team prepare for, and, in some cases, prevent these symptoms from occurring.
What are common side effects and how are side effects managed?
Common side effects to the chemotherapy for choroid plexus carcinoma include fatigue; headache; diarrhea and constipation; weakened immune system and need for transfusions. These side effects can usually be effectively managed with standard medical approaches.
Our Pediatric Brain Tumor Program also has access to specialists who deliver complementary or alternative medicines. These treatments, which may help control pain and side effects of therapy include the following.
- therapeutic touch
- dietary recommendations
Talk to your child’s physician about whether complementary or alternative medicine might be a viable option.
Our doctors may also use precisely targeted and dosed radiation to kill cancer cells left behind after your child’s surgery. This treatment is important to control the local growth of tumor.
We usually don’t use radiation therapy unless your child’s tumor has regrown after chemotherapy. Due to the potential side effects of radiation, including effects on learning and hormone function, it is best avoided if your child is young (especially under age 10).
What is the long-term outlook for a child with a choroid plexus tumor?
Today, the majority of children and adolescents diagnosed with pediatric brain tumors will survive into adulthood. However, many will face physical, psychological, social and intellectual challenges related to their treatment and will require ongoing assessment and specialized care.
What about progressive or recurrent disease?
There are many standard and experimental treatment options for children with progressive or recurrent choroid plexus tumors.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of nine institutes in the nation belonging to the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutic Investigators Consortium. The consortium is dedicated to the development of new and innovative treatments for children with newly diagnosed as well as progressive or recurrent choroid plexus tumors and other brain tumors. We are also home to the world’s largest pediatric low-grade astrocytoma research program and the Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trial Consortium.
Resources and support
We understand that you may have a lot of questions if your child is diagnosed with a choroid plexus tumor. Will it affect my child long-term? What do we do next? We’ve tried to provide some answers to those questions in these pages, but there are also a number of resources and support service to help you and your family through this difficult time.
To address the needs of this growing community of brain tumor survivors, Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Care established the Stop & Shop Family Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic.
Today, more than 1,000 pediatric brain tumor survivors of all ages are followed by the Outcomes Clinic, a multi-disciplinary program designed to address long-term health and social issues for families and survivors of childhood brain tumors. Some of the post-treatment services provided by the Outcomes Clinic include:
- MRI scans to monitor for tumor recurrences
- intellectual function evaluation
- endocrine evaluation and treatment
- neurologic assessment
- psychosocial care
- hearing, vision monitoring
- ovarian dysfunction evaluation and treatment
- motor function evaluation and physical therapy
- complementary medicine
As a result of treatment, children may experience changes in intellectual and motor function. Among several programs addressing these needs are the School Liaison and Back to School Programs, which provide individualized services to ease children's return to school and maximize their ability to learn.
In addition to providing thorough and compassionate care, our Outcomes Clinic specialists conduct innovative survivorship research and provide continuing education for staff, patients and families.
Learn more about our services. Schedule an appointment or call us at 617-632-2680.
|The new normal|
With quality of life always a priority, the oncology team at Children's and Dana-Farber knew there must be something they could do to minimize hospital stays. The solution they developed was a mobile hydration system. Read about one patient’s experience.