Astrocytoma I

Pilozytic Astrocytoma

The pilocytic astrocytoma is a clearly defined, sometimes cystic glioma, that principally occurs in children and young adult. It is classified as a benign tumour and rarely turns into a higher-grade glioma.


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Histology of Pilocytic Astrocytoma

  • a benign, slowly growing tumour (who-grade I)


Epidemiology of Pilocytic Astrocytoma

  • most frequently occuring tumour in childhood
  • peak age around 10, rare in adulthood


Symptoms of Pilocytic Astrocytoma

  • symptoms of cerebral pressure (headache, nausea and emesis)
  • neurological deficits (impaired vision, uncertain gait)
  • hypothalamic malfunctions (e.g. overweight)
  • rarely epileptical seizures


Diagnosing Pilocitic Astrocytoma

  • neurological examination, MRI and CT
  • possibly endocrinological or ophtahlmological examination
  • clearly defined, mostly heterogenous tumour
  • solidly contrast enhancing, possibly cystic components without contrast agent enhancement
  • main localisation in midbrain, cerebellum and brain stem, temporal, also optic nerve and thalamus
  • frequently occuring in patients with neurofibromatosis type I


Therapy of Pilocytic Astrocytoma

  • of possible, complete surgical removal
  • in case of incomplete surgical removal possibly radiotherapy
  • radiotherapy in astrocytomas at the brain stem


Therapy of Recurrent Pilocytic Astrocytoma

  • re-operation
  • possibly (second) irradiation
  • possibly chemotherapy


Aftercare of Pilocytic Astrocytoma

  • MRI every three months, after one year regularity after six to twelve months
  • contrast-enhanced MRI is the method of choice
  • possibly neurological, ophthalmological or endocrinological examinations


Course of Pilocytic Astrocytoma

  • inoperable or partly removes tumours stay constant over years
  • sometimes spontaneous regress can be observed
  • only in very few cases transformation into a higher-grade astrocytoma


Prognosis of Pilocytic Astrocytoma

  • depending on possibilty of surgical removal
  • complete surgical removal can be similar to a cure


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