Medulloblastoma in childhood: new biological advances

Lancet Neurol. 2007 Dec;6(12):1073-85. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(07)70289-2.


Medulloblastoma is the most common embryonal tumour in children. Patients with medulloblastoma are currently staged as average-risk or poor-risk on the basis of clinical findings. With current multimodality therapy, nearly 90% of children with average-risk, non-disseminated medulloblastoma have 5-year event-free survival, and those with high-risk disease have a 60-65% survival rate; however, the outcome for younger children, particularly infants, is worse. Children who survive medulloblastoma are at risk of long-term sequelae related to the neurological effects of the tumour, surgery, or radiotherapy, and the additive effects of chemotherapy. Molecular biology has changed our understanding of medulloblastoma and has implications for diagnostic stratification and treatment. As newer biological agents are translated from the lab to the bedside, clinicians need to understand the fundamental signalling pathways that are targeted during therapy. Greater understanding of the molecular biology of medulloblastoma is needed so that more children can be cured or have an improved quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Medulloblastoma* / mortality
  • Medulloblastoma* / pathology
  • Medulloblastoma* / therapy
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurobiology*
  • Pediatrics