Treatment options and prognosis for multicentric juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma

J Neurosurg. 1994 Jul;81(1):24-30. doi: 10.3171/jns.1994.81.1.0024.


Little is known about the risk of developing multicentric disease in patients with juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (JPA), and even less about its prognosis. Only five cases have been reported. Between 1986 and 1992, the authors treated 90 patients with either primary or recurrent JPA, 11 of whom developed multicentric spread. Ten patients had primary tumors in the hypothalamic region, eight were under 4 years of age at initial diagnosis, all had initially undergone a subtotal resection or biopsy, and 10 received postoperative multiagent chemotherapy or irradiation for residual disease. Multicentric spread was discovered immediately to 108 months after initial diagnosis; nine patients were asymptomatic at the time. Most patients received chemotherapy for the multicentric disease, which was found throughout the craniospinal axis. During 21 to 148 months of follow-up monitoring, seven patients had stabilization or regression of multicentric disease and four died. Patients with hypothalamic region tumors were 23 times more likely to develop multicentric spread than were those with primary tumors located elsewhere (p < 0.001). Based on this review, it is concluded that multicentric spread of JPA occurs more frequently than was previously recognized. In patients with subtotally resected JPA and several years of follow-up review via magnetic resonance imaging, the incidence of recurrence in a site different from the original was 12%. Patients with subtotally resected JPA in the hypothalamic region should be considered to be at high risk for developing multicentric spread. Chemotherapy appears useful in stabilizing multicentric disease. Earlier detection and intervention may result in longer disease-free survival in patients with multicentric spread of JPA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Astrocytoma / pathology
  • Astrocytoma / secondary
  • Astrocytoma / surgery
  • Astrocytoma / therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / therapy
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors