Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 301–307 | Cite as

Considerations on the Role of Chemotherapy and Modern Radiotherapy in the Treatment of Childhood Low Grade Glioma

Childhood Brain Tumors


The treatment of childhood low grade glioma (LGG), if not amenable to complete resection, quite often is a relevant clinical challenge. LGG in many instances are indeed slow growing tumors, which, if not controlled, can cause severe morbidity and ultimately jeopardize life. Most of the time children bearing an unresectable LGG can be considered affected by a chronic disease, deserving protracted cures. The treatment philosophy, which has dictated the treatment of malignant cancers, has also inspired the therapeutic concepts for managing childhood LGG. However, it is getting more and more evident that different strategies are needed for them. LGG represent a highly heterogeneous group of neoplasm and comprehensive treatment concepts rarely meet the individual patient’s needs. After more than 20 years of clinical research it can be stated with confidence that for unresectable, progressive LGG, chemotherapy (CT) represents an effective treatment modality. It delays tumor growth and postpones the use of radiotherapy (RT), thus sparing the deleterious effects of irradiation on a developing brain. However, CT rarely cures LGG and definitively obviates the need of RT or aggressive surgery. Furthermore, little is known on the actual impact of CT on patients’ overall health status. Recent progresses in RT delivering techniques, which allow reducing the safety margins, are tempering the concerns related to the use of this treatment modality in children. This manuscript reviews and expands these data, trying to combine them in a coherent picture that it is hoped can help in directing future research in this field.


chemotherapy hypothalamic glioma low grade glioma optic glioma pilocytic astrocytoma radiotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuro-oncology Program, Division of Haematology-Oncology, Department of PediatricsUniversity Hospital of PaduaPaduaItaly

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