Current treatment of medulloblastoma: recent advances and future challenges

Semin Oncol. 2004 Oct;31(5):666-75. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2004.07.009.


Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, yet it makes up only 1% of adult brain tumors. MB is uniquely sensitive to chemotherapy and radiation, but successful surgical resection continues to be an important component of therapeutic success. Progress in the treatment of MB has occurred in multiple areas from improved neurosurgical techniques, refined dosing and delivery of radiation, and optimized chemotherapy. Tumors are currently risk-stratified as average risk or high risk depending on clinical factors such as age, extent of resection, and presence of metastases. Molecular biology is beginning to improve upon clinical prognostication and may soon provide the means to accurately predict response to therapy. Treatment for average-risk MB has achieved a level of success that allows efforts to be focused on the limitation of adverse treatment effects. Therapy for high-risk and relapsed MB has been positively affected by the advent of high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue. In addition, molecular targets are being elucidated and new therapeutic agents are being tested for safety and efficacy. Treatment for this disease has evolved a great deal over the preceding decades, but a great deal of work remains to be done to effect reliable cures while reducing long-term sequelae of therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / classification
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Medulloblastoma / classification
  • Medulloblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Medulloblastoma / genetics
  • Medulloblastoma / therapy*