Genetics of Common Pediatric Brain Tumors

Pediatr Neurol. 2020 Mar:104:3-12. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2019.08.004. Epub 2019 Aug 15.


Central nervous system tumors are the most common solid tumors in pediatrics and represent the largest cause of childhood cancer-related mortality. Improvements have occurred in the management of these patients leading to better survival, but significant morbidity persists. With the era of next generation sequencing, considerable advances have occurred in the understanding of these tumors both biologically and clinically. This information has impacted diagnosis and management. Subgroups have been identified, improving risk stratification. Novel therapeutic approaches, specifically targeting the biology of these tumors, are being investigated to improve overall survival and decrease treatment-related morbidity. The intent of this review is to discuss the genetics of common pediatric brain tumors and the clinical implications. This review will include known genetic disorders associated with central nervous system tumors, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Gorlin syndrome, and Turcot syndrome, as well as somatic mutations of glioma, medulloblastoma, and ependymoma.

Keywords: Familial cancer predisposition syndromes; Genetics; Li-Fraumeni syndrome; Neurocutaneous syndromes; Pediatric brain tumors; Turcot syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Child
  • Glioma / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / genetics*
  • Neurocutaneous Syndromes / genetics*