, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 787-793
Date: 11 Dec 2008

The changing epidemiology of paediatric brain tumours: a review from the Hospital for Sick Children

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This study examines the changing epidemiology of paediatric brain tumours over the past three decades (1980–2008) in a single institution, SickKids, Toronto, Canada.


We classified 1,866 surgical pathology cases of brain tumours in children under the age of 19 according to the World Health Organization 2007 consensus and analysed them by gender, histological tumour type, age distribution and decade.


Males showed a slightly higher predominance with 56.8% of cases overall. The main histological tumour types were low-grade (I/II) astrocytomas (26.4%), medulloblastoma (10.6%), anaplastic astrocytoma/glioblastoma multiforme (7.1%) and ependymoma (7.0%). Over three decades, an increasing proportion of certain tumour types, including pilocytic astroctoma, atypical teratoma/rhabdoid tumours and neuronal/mixed neuronal-glial tumours was seen.


Our results are consistent with those published with similar methodologies in other countries. Any changes in the epidemiology of childhood central nervous system tumours over the past three decades may be attributed in part to changing classification systems, improved imaging technologies and developments in epilepsy surgery; however, continued surveillance remains important.