Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.Learn More
Gangliogliomas are rare tumors found in the brain and spinal cord.
They grow from groups of nerve cells (ganglion cells) and supportive cells (glial cells). These cells are in the central nervous system (CNS).
Gangliogliomas usually develop in the cerebrum. But they can occur anywhere in the central nervous system. Gangliogliomas tend to be small, low-grade tumors that don’t spread. But sometimes they are malignant , higher-grade tumors.
Children with ganglioglioma usually do well. They have a greater than 90% five-year survival rate. Doctors sometimes recommend watching small, non-growing stable tumors instead of surgery.
When doctors recommend treatment, biopsy/surgery is usually the preferred option. Radiation therapy may help if surgery can’t remove the tumor or it comes back. Chemotherapy and targeted therapy are options, too.
Seizures are a key symptom of ganglioglioma.
Other symptoms include:
Ganglioglioma symptoms depend on tumor size and location. Because gangliogliomas tend to grow slowly, symptoms may be gradual.
Doctors look for ganglioglioma in several ways.
Gangliogliomas are generally low-grade tumors. In most cases, they are slow-growing and not considered malignant. But about 5-10% of ganglioglioma are more aggressive, high-grade tumors.
Tumor grade is the chief factor that affects a patient’s prognosis.
Other factors that influence the chance of a cure include:
Surgery to remove the tumor is the primary treatment for ganglioglioma.
Radiation therapy may help if the tumor can’t be completely removed. It may also help if the tumor comes back. New treatments using targeted therapies are in clinical trials.
Periodic imaging helps check patients after treatment. Follow-up care should include rehabilitation, psychological, and neurological consultations as needed.
Many patients will take anti-seizure medication after surgery. Patients can sometimes taper and stop taking them after a period.
A recurrence is more likely if the tumor wasn’t completely removed.
Reviewed: October 2021