KidsMD Health Topics

Tectal Gliomas in Children

  • A tectal glioma is low-grade tumor forming in the tectum, which can be thought of as the roof of the brain stem.

    • The brain stem is the part of the brain that controls vital body functions such as respiration, heart rate and blood pressure.

    • Tectal gliomas originate in a certain type of glial cell (meaning that they make connective tissue in the brain), known as an astrocyte, for its star-like shape.

    • Most children with tectal gliomas are between 3 and 16 years old.

    As you read further, you will find general information about tectal gliomas. If you would like to view summary information about brain tumors first, see the overview on brain tumors.

    How Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center approaches tectal gliomas

    We understand that you may have a lot of questions when your child is diagnosed with a tectal glioma.

    • Is it painful?
    • Does my child need to be hospitalized?
    • How will it affect my child long term?
    • What do we do next?

    We’ve tried to provide some answers to those questions in the following pages, and our experts can explain your child’s condition fully.

    Also, we hold a weekly brain tumor clinic for newly diagnosed patients currently receiving treatment. Each time you come for an appointment, you meet with every specialist on your child’s team, from your pediatric neuro-oncologist, neurologist, and neurosurgeon, to your pediatric endocrinologist, psycho-oncologist and School liaison.

    Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Center offers the following services.

    • Access to high-tech resources, like the intra-operative MRI, which allow our pediatric neurosurgeons to visualize the tumor as they operate with MRI scans. This means they can remove as much of the tumor as possible, and sometimes eliminating additional surgeries.

    • Expert diagnosis by neuropathologists using advanced molecular diagnostic testing to identify your child’s type of tumor. Knowing the molecular composition of a tumor helps predict which treatments are more likely to work.

    • Access to unique Phase I clinical trials, from our own investigators, the Children’s Oncology Group and the Pediatric Oncology experimental Therapeutics Investigators Consortium, which apply personalized medical approaches.

    • Specialized care from pediatric neurologists familiar with the early symptoms and side effects of brain tumors and their treatments.

    • Access to one of the nation’s few dedicated pediatric brain tumor survivorship programs. This weekly clinic offers ongoing care to manage late effects caused by your child’s tumor or the treatment they received.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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