Background: Diencephalic Syndrome is a rare clinical condition of failure to thrive despite a normal caloric intake, hyperalertness, hyperkinesis, and euphoria usually associated with low-grade hypothalamic astrocytomas.
Case presentation: We reported an unusual case of diencephalic cachexia due to hypothalamic anaplastic astrocytoma (WHO-grade III). Baseline endocrine function evaluation was performed in this patient before surgery. After histological diagnosis, he enrolled to a chemotherapy program with sequential high-dose chemotherapy followed by hematopoietic stem cell rescue. The last MRI evaluation showed a good response. The patient is still alive with good visual function 21 months after starting chemotherapy.
Conclusions: Diencephalic cachexia can rarely be due to high-grade hypothalamic astrocytoma. We suggest that a nutritional support with chemotherapy given to high doses without radiotherapy could be an effective strategy for treatment of a poor-prognosis disease.