Brain Tumor: Oligodendroglioma

A oligodendroglioma is a bran tumor , which results from cells in the brain form the scaffold for nerve cells. The corresponding cells is called oligodendrocytes . However, the scaffold is not only occur from oligodendrocytes and other cell types (eg. Astrocytes). Overall, it refers to the supporting tissue as Glia . All tumors that arise from this tissue can therefore summarized under the umbrella of term gliomas. The name oligodendroglioma therefore derived from the cell name and the tumor group.

Oligodendroglioma: Frequency

Oligodendrogliomas represent about ten percent of all gliomas. They occur most likely in middle-aged (between 35 and 50 years of age). They rarely occur in children. Like other gliomas can occur anywhere in the cerebrum , however oligodendrogliomas are often located in the cerebral hemispheres in the forehead area, called the frontal lobe . Mushroom Shaped they widen it to the outer brain layer, the cortex. Occasionally, they can continue to grow and infested the meninges that envelop the brain. Oligodendrogliomas also prone to calcium deposits. Different symptoms may occur depending on how large the tumor is and where it is located.

The WHO distinguishes gliomas into four different grades . Oligodendrogliomas are mainly well differentiated and grow more slowly (WHO grade II). However, there is also a more virulent variant, the fast-growing anaplastic oligodendroglioma (WHO grade III-IV).

Oligodendroglioma: Causes

The exact oligodendroglioma causes are not yet known . In most cases, no precipitating factors can be found. Only in rare cases have a component of hereditary tumors: Some patients may have a genetic disorder such as neurofibromatosis , which can promote the emergence of a brain tumor. Increased exposure to radioactive radiation, for example during radiation therapy , increased the risk of brain tumors easily.

Lifestyle habits can increase the risk of many cancers. However, no relationship between factors such as smoking , diet or alcohol consumption and brain tumors could for as oligodendroglioma are found. Stress also seems to play no role in causing the disease. Moreover, there is no evidence that traumatic brain injury or influences such as electromagnetic fields increase the risk of an oligodendroglioma.

In molecular genetic studies, researchers have found that oligodendroglioma cells have often certain changes (mutations) in their chromosomes ( the carriers of genetic information) and they lack certain genes on chromosome 1 and chromosome 19. However, the causes of these mutations are only partially known.

Oligodendroglioma: Symptoms

In an oligodendroglioma, the first symptoms are often sudden convulsions (seizures). It comes to these attacks because the oligodendroglioma continues to spread in brain from where it originates..

Symptoms occur depending on the location and size of oligodendroglioma for example, typical intracranial pressure and other are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomit
  • A headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Disturbances of consciousness
  • Unsteady gait
  • Memory disorders
  • Personality changes

Oligodendroglioma: Diagnosis

As with all other brain tumors, next to the medical questioning specific studies are important to diagnose oligodendroglioma  .

Imaging methods play a particularly large role in diagnosis of oligodendroglioma  especially the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Magnetic resonance imaging method is important to accurately assess how much tumor is spread and so in order to accurately plan the treatments. Also this method is often used in the aftercare.

As an alternative to MRI, computed tomography may also used. Computed tomography provide good evidence.To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will usually take a tissue sample to examine it exactly (biopsy).

Oligodendroglioma: Treatments

In an oligodendroglioma surgery is often consider as the best therapy. Oligodendrogliomas are among the so-called gliomas tumors. They come in different malignant variants:

In case of less malignant oligodendroglioma (WHO grade II), the doctor can usually completely removed the tumor because the tumor often limited to a region of the brain.

A chemotherapy or radiation may be necessary after surgery. These treatment approaches to combat the potentially remaining intracranial tumor radicals and thus prevent the Recurrence of tumor or delay the time at which new forms.

The anaplastic oligodendrogliomas often grow uncontrollably (diffuse) into the brain tissue. It is then difficult to impossible to completely eliminate such a tumor by surgery. The neurosurgeon can remove the tumor only partially or only smaller portion of tumor. After the surgery, therefore typically a radiationtherapy or chemotherapy is used. If the biopsy shows that the oligodendroglioma cells of patients having certain mutations (on chromosome 1 and 19), the therapy after surgery usually consists of a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.




Oligodendroglioma: Preventons

General measures to prevent an oligodendroglioma are not yet  known. Generally it is recommended that avoid unnecessary radiation (especially in children to avoid) and contact with cancer causing chemicals and pollutants.

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