Treatments for Gliomatosis Cerebri in Children

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What are the treatments for gliomatosis cerebri?

Specific treatment for a gliomatosis cerebri may include:

  • radiation therapy - The primary therapy for newly diagnosed gliomatosis cerebri, radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (radiation) from a specialized machine to damage or kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
  • Experimental chemotherapy delivered along with radiation therapy is actively being investigated as a treatment of gliomatosis cerebri. Several trials evaluating new agents (such as thalidomide and temazolamide) are either underway or have been completed. In addition, there are trials evaluating whether new ways of delivering the traditional drugs might improve responses.

We should know more about the results of these tests soon. To date, no chemotherapy regimen has been shown to increase survival rates.

Unfortunately, surgery is not an option in the treatment of these tumors.

As with all pediatric cancers, care should be delivered at specialized centers where multidisciplinary teams can provide not only expert diagnostics and experienced medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, but also psychosocial support, neuro-psychological testing and specialized school plans, all delivered in a child- and family-sensitive and friendly environment.

How are side effects managed?

Your child may experience side effects from radiation. Radiation often produces inflammation, which can temporarily make symptoms and dysfunctions worse. If your child experiences inflammation, steroids may be prescribed.

Many specialized brain tumor treatment centers have now added experts in complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). These treatments, including acupuncture/acupressure, therapeutic touch, massage, herbs and dietary recommendations, can also help to control pain and side effects of therapy. Talk to your child's physician about whether CAM might be a viable option of treatment.

What is the expected outcome after treatment for gliomatosis cerebri?

The prognosis for gliomatosis cerebri remains poor.

What about progressive or recurrent disease?

Clinical trials and experimental therapies are available for patients with relapsed high-grade gliomas at specialized centers. Current trials include novel medications as well as new methods for the delivery of more traditional agents.

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