Pediatric Optic Pathway/Hypothalamic Glioma

Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2018 Jan 15;58(1):1-9. doi: 10.2176/nmc.ra.2017-0081. Epub 2017 Nov 9.


Optic pathway/hypothalamic gliomas (OP/HGs) are rare astrocytic tumors that appear more commonly among young children and often are unresectable. They comprise approximately 2% of all central nervous system tumors and account for 3-5% of pediatric intracranial tumors. Initial manifestations are often visual disturbances, endocrinopathies and hypothalamic dysfunction such as the diencephalic syndrome, and sometimes hydrocephalus due to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) outflow obstruction. In many cases, the tumors are diagnosed late in the clinical course because they silently enlarge. These tumors consist mostly of histologically benign, World Health Organization (WHO) grade I tumors represented by pilocytic astrocytomas (PA), the rest being pilomyxoid astrocytomas (PXA) - WHO grade II tumors. In young pediatric patients, however, can be seen PXA that show aggressive clinical course such as CSF dissemination. Our small series of 14 non-Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1) OP/HGs PA patients underwent extended resection without any adjuvant treatments. The median age at initial treatment was 11.5 ± 6.90 years (range, 1-25 years) and median follow up 85.5 ± 25.0 months. Surgical resection for OP/HGs results in acceptable middle-term survival, tumor control and functional outcome equivalent to chemotherapy. There is, however, no longer doubt that chemotherapy with or without biopsy and as-needed debulking surgery remains the golden standard in management of OP/H. Clinical conditions and treatment plans for OP/HGs vary depending on their structure of origin.

Keywords: chemotherapy; optic pathway glioma; pilocytic astrocytoma; prognosis; radiotherapy; surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Glioma / diagnosis*
  • Glioma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Optic Chiasm
  • Optic Tract*
  • Young Adult