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Future Oncol. 2012 May;8(5):549-58. doi: 10.2217/fon.12.51.

Differences in molecular genetics between pediatric and adult malignant astrocytomas: age matters.

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  • 1Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, Dana-Farber Children's Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA, USA.


The microscope - the classical tool for the investigation of cells and tissues - remains the basis for the classification of tumors throughout the body. Nowhere has this been more true than in the grading of astrocytomas. In spite of the fact that our parents warned us not to judge a book by its cover, we have continued to assume that adult and pediatric malignant gliomas that look the same, will have the same mutations, and thus respond to the same therapy. Rapid advances in molecular biology have permitted us the opportunity to go inside the cell and characterize the genetic events that underlie the true molecular heterogeneity of adult and pediatric brain tumors. In this paper, we will discuss some of the important clinical differences between pediatric and adult gliomas, with a focus on the molecular analysis of these different age groups.

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