"What I love about working here is the people, the resources that we have, the labs that we work with and the access to areas that not all smaller programs have, such as neuropsychologists and basic research scientists. We truly try to work together."
Susan Chi, MD
Having a tumor in the brain or spinal cord is always a very serious matter. However, there are many distinct types of brain tumors that occur in children, and some types are highly curable. Ependymomas fall in the middle the spectrum, with a cure rate of about 50 percent depending on the specific type.
An ependymoma is tumor that comes from the cells lining the ventricular system of the brain or spinal cord, which contains cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It is the third most common brain tumor in children.
Ependymomas in children usually appear in the brain, most commonly in the fourth ventricle. In rare cases it is found in the spinal cord.
- Ependymoma is treated with surgery, and, if necessary, radiation therapy.
- Spinal cord ependymomas are often easier to treat, and have an excellent prognosis.
- Metastatic, progressive or recurrent ependymoma is more difficult to cure.
How Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center approaches ependymomas
Children diagnosed with ependymoma are treated through Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center’s Pediatric Brain Tumors Program. Our pediatric brain tumor specialists at work together to provide the best care possible to your child. We offer:
- technological advances such as the intra-operative MRI, which allows our pediatric neurosurgeons to see the tumor as they operate and remove as much of it as possible
- expert diagnosis and consultation by neuropathologists who use advanced molecular diagnostic testing
- access to unique Phase I clinical trials, from our own investigators, the Children’s Oncology Group and the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Consortium