Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytoma

What is a pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma – PXA?

Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (PXA) is a rare, usually benign (non-cancerous) brain tumor that arises from astrocytes, the cells in the nervous system that make up the supportive network for the brain.

  • Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma usually occurs in the cerebral hemisphere (the uppermost sections of the brain) and the leptomeninges (one of the layers covering the brain). In rare cases, it develops in the spinal cord.
  • Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma affects males and females equally; the average age at diagnosis is 12 years.
  • Very rarely, a PXA will transform into a malignant (cancerous) tumor.

How Dana-Farber/Boston Children's approaches pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (PXA)

Children and adolescents with pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma are treated at the Glioma Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, one of the largest and most experienced pediatric glioma programs in the world. Our brain tumor specialists – a team of neuro-oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and radiation oncologists – focus solely on the care of children diagnosed with brain tumors. The Glioma Program also offers families the chance to have their child's tumor molecularly profiled (as long as a biopsy can be taken), which may help identify opportunities for targeted treatment.

Learn more about pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma

Find in-depth information on pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website, including details on pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma symptoms, treatment and more.