, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 104-110

Brain tumors with symptomatic onset in the first two years of life

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Eighty children who in the first 2 years of life had signs and symptoms relating to a cerebral neoplasm were studied over an 18-year period (1970–1987), the mean follow-up being 8.2 years. In each case age at onset, clinical presentation, tumor location and pathological diagnosis, extent of surgical resection, postoperative mortality, adjuvant therapy length of survival and quality of life were assessed. Supratentorial tumors (59%) were more common than infratentorial. The most frequent clinical presenting feature (70%) was increased intracranial pressure. Sixty-three patients (79%) were operated on and in all of these cases a histological diagnosis was obtained. Astrocytomas (41%) and medulloblastomas (20%) were the most common oncotypes. Surgical mortality was 17.4% and the 5-year survival rate was 54%. Quality of life was assessed for all long-term surviving patients using a specifically designed protocol. Normal physical and intellectual performances were found in 46% of cases, and all together 75% of the patients had sufficient autonomy in daily life. The prognosis is more closely related to tumor location and type of treatment than to histological diagnosis or age at onset.