Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.

Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Print friendly version

Anaplastic ependymoma


See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Overview



What is an anaplastic ependymoma?

What are the symptoms of ependymoma?

How might an ependymoma be treated?


What is an anaplastic ependymoma?

An ependymoma is a tumor that forms when cells in the central nervous system (including the brain and spinal cord) begin to multiple rapidly.  An anaplastic ependymoma is one in which the cells are significantly unusual and grow very quickly.  Ependymomas can occur at any age; when they occur in children, they are more frequently located in the brain, whereas they are more often found in the spinal cord of affected adults.  Symptoms of an ependymoma depend on the age of the patient and the size and location of the tumor.  Though the exact cause of ependymoma is not yet known, it is thought that changes (mutations) in certain genes allow the cells to begin growing quickly.  Treatment for ependymoma begins with surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, and may include other therapies as well.  Of all individuals diagnosed with an ependymoma, approximately half are alive five years after their initial diagnosis.[1]
Last updated: 3/27/2012

What are the symptoms of ependymoma?

An ependymoma in the brain of a child can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizures, and an increasing head size due to fluid trapped in the skull by the tumor (hydrocephalus); adults may experience a blind spot (papilledema), some weakness or paralysis (hemiparesis), and changes in thinking and personality.  If an ependymoma grows in the spinal cord of a child or adult, it may cause pain, weakness and paralysis.[1]
Last updated: 3/27/2012

How might an ependymoma be treated?

Treatment begins with surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible; radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or radiosurgery may be used to destroy any cancer cells that remain following surgery.  Steroids may be used to reduce swelling (edema) caused by the tumor.[1]
Last updated: 3/27/2012

References
  1. Bruce JN. Ependymoma. eMedicine. January 2012; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/277621-overview. Accessed 3/27/2012.