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Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma

Abstract

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NORD is very grateful to Nicholas K Foreman, MD, Seebaum-Tschetter Chair of Neuro-Oncology,The Children's Hospital, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma

  • Astrocytoma Grade I
  • JPA

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (JPA) is a rare childhood brain tumor. In most cases, the tumor is a benign, slow growing tumor that usually does not spread to surrounding brain tissue. Symptoms of a JPA will vary depending upon the size and location of the tumor. Most symptoms result from increased pressure on the brain and include headaches, nausea, vomiting, balance problems and vision abnormalities.

A JPA develops from certain star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes. Astrocytes and similar cells form tissue that surrounds and protects other nerve cells found within the brain and spinal cord. Collectively, these cells are known as glial cells and the tissue they form is known as glial tissue. Tumors that arise from glial tissue, including astrocytomas, are collectively referred to as gliomas.

Astrocytomas are classified according to a grading system developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Astrocytomas come in four grades based upon how fast the cells are reproducing and that likelihood that they will spread (infiltrate) nearby tissue. Grades I or II astrocytomas are nonmalignant and may be referred to as low-grade. JPA are Grade I tumors and, unlike the low grade astrocytomas of adults, rarely up-grade and become malignant. Grades III and IV astrocytomas are malignant and may be referred to as high-grade astrocytomas. Anaplastic astrocytomas are grade III astrocytomas. Grade IV astrocytomas are known as glioblastoma multiforme.

Organizations related to Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma

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