Pearls and Pitfalls of Imaging in Pediatric Brain Tumors

Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2022 Feb;43(1):31-46. doi: 10.1053/j.sult.2021.05.004. Epub 2021 May 15.


The central nervous system (CNS) tumors constitute the most common type of solid tumors in the pediatric population. The cerebral and cerebellar parenchyma are the most common site of pediatric CNS neoplasms. Imaging plays an important role in detection, characterization, staging and prognostication of brain tumors. The focus of the current article is pediatric brain tumor imaging with emphasis on pearls and pitfalls of conventional and advanced imaging in various pediatric brain tumor subtypes. The article also elucidates changes in brain tumor terms and entities as applicable to pediatric patients, updated as per World Health Organization (WHO) 2016 classification of primary CNS tumors. This classification introduced the genetic and/or molecular information of primary CNS neoplasms as part of comprehensive tumor pathology report in the routine clinical workflow. The concepts from 2016 classification have been further refined based on current research, by the Consortium to Inform Molecular and Practical Approaches to CNS Tumor Taxonomy (cIMPACT-NOW) group and published in the form of updates. The updates serve as guidelines in the time interval between WHO updates and expect to be broadly adopted in the subsequent WHO classification. The current review covers most pediatric brain tumors except pituitary tumors, meningeal origin tumors, nerve sheath tumors and CNS lymphoma/leukemia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms*
  • Child
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • World Health Organization