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St. Jude Finds Young Age May Give Survival Advantage to Children With Certain Brain Tumors
Date:5/29/2008

ive in older children with similar tumors. Based on these findings, the St. Jude team calculates that 45 percent of children under 3 years treated for DPG will survive for at least three years without experiencing tumor growth, and 69 percent of such children will survive.

From these results, the investigators concluded that distinct biological characteristics of DPG in children under 3 years compared to older children might account for their better response to radiation and chemotherapy. The researchers point to a similar finding with a type of glioma that originates in the cerebrum: Young children with high-grade gliomas originating in the cerebrum seem to have a better prognosis when compared to older children. Different biological properties also seem to play a role in the latter case.

Brainstem gliomas account for 10 to 15 percent of all brain tumors in children; and DPGs account for 80 percent of brainstem tumors in childhood. Although MRI revolutionized the diagnosis of DPG, no significant improvements have occurred in its treatment in children during the past 20 years, according to St. Jude researchers. The long-term survival of children with DPG has remained less than 10 percent despite treatment with radiation and chemotherapy.

The St. Jude team is now collecting tumor samples and performing extensive molecular analyses in order to gain a better understanding of the biology of DPGs in children. "We believe that the more we learn about DPGs, the more likely we will be able to design more effective treatments for children of all ages with this tumor," Broniscer said.

Other authors of the paper include Fred H. Laningham, Larry E. Kun, David W. Ellison and Amar Gajjar (St. Jude) and Robert P. Sanders (formerly of St. Jude).

This work was supported by a Cancer Center Support CORE grant from the National Institutes of Health, Musicians Against Childhood Cancer, the Noyes Brain Tumor Foundation, the Ryan McGhee Foundation and AL
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SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
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