Brainstem Gliomas. A 10-year institutional review

Pediatr Neurosurg. 2001 Apr;34(4):206-14. doi: 10.1159/000056021.


Case records of 37 patients with a diagnosis of brainstem glioma treated at the Montreal Children's Hospital from June 1989 to June 1999 were reviewed. 15 patients had diffuse pontine gliomas and 22 patients had focal forms of brainstem gliomas. The two groups were compared with respect to age, clinical evolution, radiological appearance, type of surgery practised, histological diagnosis, adjuvant treatments and survival. A non-pontine brainstem location, a cystic or exophytic component, bright enhancement with gadolinium injection, a histological diagnosis of pilocytic astrocytoma or ganglioglioma were favourable prognostic factors. Progression-free survival and overall survival were significantly worse in the group of patients with diffuse pontine gliomas. The relative impact of radical surgery and/or radiotherapy is analysed. Surgery coupled to adjuncts such as navigation, ultrasound and monitoring plays an important role for focal brainstem lesions. Focal/conformal radiotherapy has an adjuvant role but better treatments are needed for the diffuse pontine brainstem lesions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Stem / pathology
  • Brain Stem / radiation effects*
  • Brain Stem / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gadolinium
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Glioma / radiotherapy*
  • Glioma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Microsurgery
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Gadolinium