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Desmoplastic infantile ganglioglioma

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Desmoplastic infantile gangliogliomas are rare intracranial tumors that mostly occur in the first 2 years of life. They are exclusively supratentorial, generally have a voluminous size, and are partially cystic. Histologically they are characterized by a divergent astrocytic and ganglionic differentiation and a prominent desmoplastic stroma; more primitive cells may be observed, which present a higher number of mitoses and these areas can mimic the features of malignant astrocytomas. Surgery is the treatment of choice. Data available from the literature suggest that no complimentary treatment is needed in cases of complete tumor resection. Chemotherapy is an option in infants with infiltration of eloquent CNS structures and progressive disease after surgery. DIGs have generally a good prognosis: recurrence-free intervals of up to 14 years have been reported and spontaneous disappearance of tumor residuals has also been described.

Case reports and discussion

We report two cases of DIGs. The first child underwent a staged partial removal of a huge right fronto-temporo-parietal tumor when she was 2 months old. At that time histological diagnosis was anaplastic astrocytoma and on these grounds she underwent six chemotherapy cycles, with a partial reduction of the tumor residual. When she was 16 months old a new operation and complete removal of the tumor residual was performed; histological diagnosis was DIG. A review of the initial histological samples confirmed this diagnosis. Twenty-two months after surgery no tumor recurrence has been documented. This case is an example of a difficult differential diagnosis, which can lead to incorrect management choices. The second patient was operated on when he was 9 months old for a mostly cystic right temporo-parieto-occipital DIG. At surgery a deep nodule, strictly adherent to the Galen and internal cerebral veins, was not removed. MRI control 9 months after surgery showed the disappearance of the tumor residual. Eleven years after surgery no tumor recurrence has been documented. The history of this patient confirms that tumor residuals do not need complimentary treatment; indeed they do not usually grow and, as in our patient, they can spontaneously disappear.

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Correspondence to G. Tamburrini.

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Tamburrini, G., Colosimo, C., Giangaspero, F. et al. Desmoplastic infantile ganglioglioma. Childs Nerv Syst 19, 292–297 (2003).

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