Can Oligodendroglioma Be Cured?

Reviewed on 1/11/2021

What Is Oligodendroglioma?

Oligodendroglioma, a rare tumor that starts in the brain or spinal cord, has no cure. Catching the cancer early and starting treatment is the best way to prolong life -- people with stage II of this kind of cancer live an average of 12 years after diagnosis.
Oligodendroglioma, a rare tumor that starts in the brain or spinal cord, has no cure. Catching the cancer early and starting treatment is the best way to prolong life -- people with stage II of this kind of cancer live an average of 12 years after diagnosis.

Oligodendroglioma is a type of tumor that begins in the brain or spinal cord (primary central nervous system). Oligodendrogliomas account for only about 1% to 2% of brain tumors.

Oligodendrogliomas are grouped in two grades based on their characteristics.

  • Grade II 
    • Low grade tumors
    • Tumor cells grow slowly and invade nearby normal tissue
    • It may take years to be diagnosed because it may not cause symptoms
  • Grade III 
    • Malignant (cancerous) tumors
    • Fast-growing tumors
    • Called anaplastic oligodendrogliomas

What Are Symptoms of Oligodendroglioma?

Oligodendrogliomas may not cause any symptoms because they progress slowly. Symptoms of oligodendrogliomas depend on the location of the tumor and may include:

  • Seizures (most common symptom, affecting about 60% of patients)
  • Headaches
  • Problems with thinking and memory
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Problems with balance and movement
  • Problems with coordination
  • Personality changes
  • Paralysis
  • Impaired Vision
  • Disturbances in the sense of touch
  • Inability to maintain concentration 
  • Inability to read
  • Inability to write
  • Inability to calculate
  • Inability to recognize and interpret sensations
  • Inability to interpret music and language
  • Hearing loss
  • Hallucinations

What Causes Oligodendroglioma?

The cause of oligodendrogliomas is unknown. A chromosome abnormality involving loss of chromosomes 1p and 19q may be a factor. 

Risk factors for oligodendrogliomas may include: 

  • Exposure to radiation 
  • Certain gene changes that can be passed down through families
  • Age: most often occurs in adults ages 50-60; rare in children
  • Gender: occurs more often in males than females
  • Ethnicity: most common in white and non-Hispanic people

How Is Oligodendroglioma Diagnosed?

Oligodendrogliomas are diagnosed with a history and physical exam, and imaging tests including:

What Is the Treatment for Oligodendroglioma?

Treatment for oligodendrogliomas usually involves surgical removal of the tumor followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. 

  • Surgery
    • First treatment, when possible
    • Goal is to remove as much tumor as possible without causing more symptoms 
  • Chemotherapy 
  • External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)
    • Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT)
    • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
    • Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT)
    • Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)/stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT)
    • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
    • Whole brain and spinal cord radiation therapy (craniospinal radiation)

What Is the Life Expectancy for Oligodendroglioma?

Compared to other brain tumors, oligodendroglioma has a higher survival rate. It may not always be possible to completely cure the cancer, but the life expectancy of patients can be increased with treatment. Life expectancy depends on the grade of the tumor and how early a treatment plan is started. 

  • Patients with Grade II oligodendroglioma brain tumors are likely to live for 12 more years 
  • Patients with Grade III oligodendroglioma brain tumors are expected to live an average of 3.5 years

QUESTION

Which of these is NOT a type of head and neck cancer? See Answer

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Reviewed on 1/11/2021
References
https://www.cancer.gov/rare-brain-spine-tumor/tumors/oligodendroglioma

https://www.abta.org/tumor_types/oligodendroglioma/

https://cancerwall.com/oligodendroglioma/