Astrocytoma | Diagnosis & Treatment

How are astrocytomas diagnosed?

To diagnose a pediatric astrocytoma, your doctor will take your child's medical history and carry out both physical and neurological exams. Your doctor may also order a variety of tests, including:

Specific astrocytoma diagnoses could include:

After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.

What are the treatment options for astrocytomas?

Our treatment approach for pediatric gliomas is personalized for each patient depending on several factors, including the tumor's type, stage and location. Some therapies will treat the tumor, while others are intended to address complications of the disease or side effects of the treatment.

In addition, our clinicians may offer access to targeted treatments based on the molecular profile of your child's tumor.

Some of the options your doctor may discuss include:

We also offer innovative brain tumor clinical trials for children with astrocytomas. Some of these were launched by our own physicians, while others are available through our participation in collaborative groups such as the Children's Oncology Group (COG) and the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators' Consortium (POETIC).

Should you have questions or need advice on whether a particular trial would be appropriate for your child, email our clinical trials team at clinicaltrials@danafarberbostonchildrens.org.

What is the long-term outlook for a child with a astrocytoma?

Your child’s prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on a number of different factors, including:

  • type of tumor
  • tumor grade
  • the extent of the disease
  • the size and location of the tumor
  • the presence or absence of metastasis
  • the tumor's response to therapy
  • the age and overall health of your child
  • your child's tolerance of specific medications, procedures or therapies
  • new developments in treatment

In general, astrocytomas tend to be readily treatable. Prompt medical attention and appropriate therapy are important for the best prognosis.