Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas?

The symptoms of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) usually develop very rapidly prior to diagnosis, reflecting the fast growth of these tumors. Most patients start experiencing symptoms less than three months — and often less than three weeks — before diagnosis. The most common symptoms include:

  • rapidly developing problems controlling eye movements, facial expressions, speech, chewing, and swallowing
  • weakness in the arms and legs
  • problems with walking and coordination

What causes DIPG?

For a long time, little was understood about DIPGs because clinicians feared they could not be safely biopsied. However, recent and ongoing research at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has led to important discoveries, allowing us to learn more about certain genetic mutations that may cause DIPG.