Cerebellar astrocytoma

Overview

Astrocytoma is a brain tumour that arises from star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes that are found in the cerebellar hemisphere of the brain. Although people of any age may develop astrocytomas, its low grade version usually afflicts children between 5 and 10 years of age. It accounts for roughly 75% of neuroepithelial tumors. About half of childhood brain tumors are astrocytomas. The tumour as it occurs in children is usually benign in nature and cystic in consistency. They are usually slow-growing and do not spread to other parts of the body. At times, however, they may spread to the spine.

Primarily there are four types of astrocytomas that affect children the most common being the juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (Grade I). This is a slow-growing tumor, fluid-filled or cystic and develops in the cerebellum. Surgical removal is often the only treatment necessary. The other less common forms of the tumour are:

  • Fibrillary astrocytoma (Grade II): It infiltrates into the surrounding normal brain tissue, making surgical removal more difficult. A fibrillary astrocytoma may cause seizures.
  • Anaplastic astrocytoma (Grade III): A malignant tumour this can produce symptoms such as weakness, unsteady walking and a loss of sensation.
  • Glioblastoma multiforme (Grade IV): The most malignant type of astrocytoma it grows rapidly, increasing pressure in the brain. This is relatively very rare.

Diagnosis
Treatment
Specialists
Tech & Procedures