Home Tips What Is an Ependymoma and How Is It Treated?

What Is an Ependymoma and How Is It Treated?

What Is an Ependymoma and How Is It Treated?

An ependymoma is a tumor of the central nervous system that affects more children than adults. We’ll explain all the pieces it’s good to know here.

Ependymoma is a style of tumor that forms within the central nervous system. It could possibly develop in each the brain and the spinal cord. It’s more common in young children than in adults; nonetheless, it could actually arise at any age. Its presence tends to cause a blockage of cerebrospinal fluid circulation.

The issue is that many individuals could also be asymptomatic for a very long time or express very nonspecific symptoms. Hence, diagnosis is usually delayed. Fortunately, there at the moment are several therapies available to deal with the issue. We’ll inform you all the small print in the next space.

What’s an ependymoma?

Ependymoma is a primary tumor that may begin within the brain or spinal cord (central nervous system). It doesn’t come from every other a part of the body. An article shared by National Center for Biotechnology Information explains that it develops from glial cells.

To be more precise, it comes from ependymal cells, those who line the ventricles of the brain and the ependymal duct of the spinal cord. The disease constitutes about 5% of intracranial gliomas in adults and as much as 10% of childhood central nervous system tumors.

Ependymal cells are accountable for producing cerebrospinal fluid at the extent of the cerebral ventricles. In the remaining of the central nervous system, they facilitate the movement of this fluid. In itself, it plays a vital role in protecting this method.

Ependymoma occurs when these cells proliferate uncontrollably, leading to a tumor. It’s normally soft, gray, or reddish in color. And while it’s rare, it could actually affect people of any age. The important difference between children and adults is the situation.

  • In children, this cancer normally affects the lower half of the brain.
  • Meanwhile, in adults, it’s more common for the spinal cord to be affected.

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Types and grades of ependymoma

Ependymoma might be classified into different types and grades. The categories are distinguished from one another in keeping with their location within the brain or throughout the spine. However, the grades correspond to the atypia of the cells.

That’s, cancer cells that differ barely from normal cells constitute a low-grade tumor. Nonetheless, those which can be formed by cells which have little or no resemblance to healthy cells will likely be high-grade.

Grade I ependymoma

Grade I ependymomas are those formed by cells that grow slowly. Inside this group, we discover the subependymoma and myxopapillary ependymoma types. Each types are more frequent in adults than in children.

  • Subependymomas are those who develop near the cerebral ventricles.
  • Myxopapillary ependymomas occur within the spinal cord. Actually, it normally affects the lower a part of the spinal cord.

Grade II tumors

Grade II tumors are more frequent than the previous ones. They’re faster growing and include a mess of subtypes. For instance, they include papillary and cellular ependymomas.

Grade III ependymomas

Grade III ependymomas are essentially the most aggressive. The cells are very atypical and have very rapid growth. Also called an ‘anaplastic ependymoma‘. It’s more common for them to develop contained in the skull, either within the brain or within the brainstem.

They’ve a greater capability for dissemination, as they’ll spread through the cerebrospinal fluid. It’s subsequently possible that other tumor foci may appear within the brain or spinal cord. Nonetheless, they don’t normally metastasize to other organs.

What are the symptoms?

Ependymoma occurs in numerous parts of the central nervous system. As well as, it could actually affect people of any age. All these aspects make the symptomatology very variable. Actually, as we identified within the introduction, some people have hardly any symptoms in any respect.

One of the frequent signs is headaches. The tumor may cause intracranial pressure to extend, so nausea, vomiting, and malaise are also common. Some patients experience blurred vision or lack of vision.

Lack of balance, difficulty walking, and seizures may also occur. When ependymoma affects the medulla, weakness, and tingling within the extremities are common. There may be neck pain.

Causes and risk aspects

As with every other tumor, ependymoma appears since the cells begin to proliferate in an uncontrolled manner. The cause is a mutation within the DNA of those cells. Nonetheless, it isn’t known why this happens.

Nonetheless, it has been shown that individuals with neurofibromatosis type 2 are more in danger for this disease. This can be a genetic disorder that favors the formation of tumors within the nervous system.

How is an ependymoma diagnosed?

The diagnosis of ependymoma is complex and requires certain complementary tests. Often, the neurologist performs a whole neurological examination to judge the patient’s senses, coordination, reflexes, and cranial nerves.

Through this examination and knowledge of the symptoms, the presence or absence of the tumor and its location might be determined. Imaging tests, reminiscent of magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography, are often performed at the moment.

Because the Mayo Clinic specialists explain, these tests are essential to watch the tumor. In some cases, a lumbar puncture can also be performed. This can be a test that consists of extracting cerebrospinal fluid by puncturing an area between the vertebrae.

The fluid is analyzed within the laboratory to find out if there are tumor cells or alterations that indicate their presence. The tumor itself can also be normally analyzed to see what the cells that make it up are like.

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Treatments available

Fortunately, there are other ways to treat this disease. Actually, as explained in a publication by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital the survival rate is sort of high. The five-year survival rate is taken into account to be between 70 and 85%.

The primary therapeutic option is surgery. The aim is to remove your entire tumor or to cut back its size as much as possible. The issue is that it’s normally positioned in delicate areas which can be difficult to operate on. It’s subsequently not all the time possible to remove your entire tumor.

Many patients, subsequently, require other treatments to eliminate residual cancer cells. One in all these is radiotherapy. There are different modalities, reminiscent of intensity-modulated or proton therapy.

These are techniques that aim to focus radiation on the tumor area and reduce damage to healthy tissues. Radiation therapy could also be useful to stop the reoccurrence of ependymoma. Radiosurgery, which consists of concentrating the radiation on specific points of the tumor, can also be used.

Chemotherapy is one other link within the treatment. Nonetheless, it’s not very effective. This selection will likely be reserved for cases through which each surgery and radiation therapy have failed.

What to have in mind

Ependymoma is a tumor that develops from certain glial cells. These cells are present in each the brain and the spinal cord. Due to this fact, it’s possible for this tumor to seem anywhere in each areas.

Even though it’s considered a rare style of cancer, it’s necessary to pay attention to its possible symptoms with a view to discover it. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the more likely it’s that treatment will likely be effective.

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