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Pediatr Neurosurg. 2007;43(3):192-201.

Brainstem tumors: where are we today?

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Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


Brainstem tumors comprise 10-20% of all pediatric central nervous system tumors. The management of these tumors has evolved dramatically in the past century. Once considered uniformly fatal, it is now known that brainstem tumors have distinguishing characteristics and do not behave identically. The focality and location of the lesion is determined from the clinical history, presentation, and associated imaging. Based on these findings, it is possible to predict the behavior of the tumor and choose an appropriate intervention. Focal lesions have a good prognosis and are treated operatively while diffuse lesions have a poor prognosis and are managed medically. This article reviews the current classification of brainstem tumors, current management options and future directions for the treatment of these rare tumors.

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