Tectal Gliomas

What is a tectal glioma?

A tectal glioma is a low-grade, slow-growing brain tumor in the tectum, the roof of the brain stem. The brain stem controls vital body functions such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

Despite their origin in a critical part of the body, tectal gliomas have a very high cure rate and the long-term prognosis is usually excellent. Most children with tectal gliomas develop these brain tumors between the ages of 3 and 16. Tectal gliomas tend to develop spontaneously, which means that there is no known environmental or genetic factor that doctors suspect could have caused the tumor to grow.

Low-grade gliomas are a family of brain tumors that are typically non malignant and rarely aggressive. The tumors originate in glial cells, which support and nourish neurons in the brain.

How we care for tectal gliomas

Children with tectal gliomas are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through our Glioma Program — one of the world’s largest pediatric glioma treatment programs. Our internationally-recognized pediatric brain tumor specialists have extensive expertise in treating all types of gliomas, including tectal gliomas. Our glioma specialists — a team of neuro-oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and radiation oncologists — focus solely on the care of children diagnosed with gliomas. Our 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 precision medicine.

Learn more about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of tectal gliomas on the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute website.