What treatments are available for pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas?
Specific treatment for a pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma may include (alone or in combination):
The primary treatment is to remove as much as the tumor as possible. If your child's tumor is completely removed, no further treatment other than serial MRIs to monitor for tumor re-growth may be required. If your child's tumor is incompletely removed and then increases in size, or if it comes back, surgery may be performed again.
May be recommended, although, data suggests that radiation therapy does not influence long-term outcome. This type of therapy uses high-energy rays (radiation) from a specialized machine to damage or kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
Are there side effects?
Your child may have side effects related to both pressure within the brain and to the treatment. An oral steroid such as Dexamethasone may be prescribed to help with symptoms related to increased pressure in the brain, and if your child is experiencing seizures, anti-seizure medications may control them, or in some cases eliminate them altogether.
What is the expected outcome after treatment for pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma?
Fortunately, pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas are associated with a high rate of cure. Data suggest a long-term survival rate of approximately 90 percent. Greater degree of surgical removal appears to improve long-term survival.
What about progressive or recurrent disease?
The recommended treatment for progressive or recurrent pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas is reattempt at surgical removal.
We are a member of the Pediatric Oncology Therapeutic Experimental Investigators Consortium (POETIC), a collaborative clinical research group offering experimental therapies to patients with relapsed or refractory disease.