An Update On Pediatric Brain Tumors

Document Type : Original Article


Division of Pediatric Radiology, Department of Radiology, Erasmus MC – University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Brain tumors are rare in childhood, but as a group represent the most common solid pediatric tumorsand account for significant morbidity and mortality. The various different presenting signs and symptoms of pediatric brain tumors are mainly related to the location of the tumor. In addition, survival rates vary widely with tumor type. Until recently, paediatric brain tumors were classified exclusively based on histologic characteristics. Tumor histogenesis consequently determined treatment selection and prognosis. Recent research demonstrates the importance of molecular, genetic and epigenetic features of brain tumors in understanding their biology and predicting their behaviour. As a result, novel biomarkers and molecular targeted therapies are in development.
The 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System
(CNS) incorporates molecular parameters and histologic features in defining tumor entities. This new
concept emphasizes the importance of the diverse biology of pediatric brain tumors, thereby restructuring diffuse gliomas, medulloblastomas, and other embryonal tumors. As a consequence, the 2016 WHO Classification comprises new recognized brain tumors and on the other hand erases some of the existing entities, variants and patterns.
The goal is to become familiar with the new and altered pediatric tumor entities of the 2016 WHO Classification of CNS tumors, to identify characteristic imaging features of the most common pediatric brain tumors and their differential diagnoses, and to enhance your expertise regarding molecular and genetic features of brain tumors.