Diagnosis and management of brain and spinal cord tumors in the neonate

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2012 Aug;17(4):202-206. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2012.03.001. Epub 2012 Mar 30.


Congenital central nervous system (CNS) tumors are rare, accounting for <5% of childhood CNS tumors. Although the definition remains arbitrary, 'congenital' is often defined as CNS tumors diagnosed at birth or within a few months after birth. Congenital CNS tumors are now increasingly detected on prenatal ultrasound, with polyhydramnios as the most frequent finding. After delivery, most congenital CNS tumors are associated with macrocrania and hydrocephalus. Teratomas are the most common congenital CNS tumors; other common tumors include astrocytomas, embryonal tumors such as medulloblastomas, and choroid plexus tumors. Choroid plexus tumors (predominantly papillomas) have the best outcome, as aggressive surgical resection can be curative. Other congenital CNS tumors have a collectively poor prognosis, although some subtypes may benefit from complete resections and chemotherapy. Given the rare incidences and diverse pathology of congenital CNS tumors, multicenter studies are required to accurately assess treatment efficacy and outcome measures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytoma / congenital
  • Astrocytoma / diagnosis
  • Astrocytoma / therapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / congenital
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Craniopharyngioma / congenital
  • Craniopharyngioma / diagnosis
  • Craniopharyngioma / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Medulloblastoma / congenital
  • Medulloblastoma / diagnosis
  • Medulloblastoma / therapy
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / congenital
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / diagnosis
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / therapy
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / congenital
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Teratoma / congenital
  • Teratoma / diagnosis
  • Teratoma / therapy