Medulloblastoma

Medulloblastoma is a cancerous tumor of the brain that starts in the cerebellum or the posterior fossa.

Statistics say, tumors of the brain are the second most common cancers among people below 20 years. Medulloblastoma is the commonest brain tumor that is malignant. The tumor is relatively rare amongst adults.

The occurrence of childhood medulloblastoma is greater in males, (about 62 %) while it is about 38 % in females

Medulloblastoma Causes

• The exact cause for medulloblastoma is not yet known. Research and clinical trials state, the tumor arises from embryonal cells in their primary phase of development.

• Some research data also states that the brain tumor emerges from the cerebellar stem cells which haven•t differentiated in to their normal cell types.

• Genetics says, a shortage of genetic data on the distal portion of chromosome 17, could be blamed for the neo-plastic alteration of the undifferentiated cells.

• Medulloblastoma is also associated with other conditions such as: Turcot syndrome, Gorlin syndrome, etc.

• Studies also implicate the JC virus for the development of the tumor.

Medulloblastoma Symptoms

Common symptoms and clinical features are:

• listlessness and lethargy
• vomiting frequently
• headache in the morning
• stumbling gait
• falling frequently
• nystagmus
• double vision
• papilledema
• paralysis of the 6th cranial nerve
• positional giddiness
• motor weakness / sensory loss
• metastatic symptoms depending on the spread

Medulloblastoma Treatment

Surgery: Surgical intervention comprises of maximum excision of the tumor mass.

Radiotherapy: Radiation therapy is administered to the neuro-axis to wipe out the tumor cells effectively.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is an essential part of the treatment regimen. Chemotherapy drugs raise disease-free survival of the patient, and also cut down the likelihood of recurrence. Chemotherapy drugs, in some cases, can even help to delay or do away with the administration of radiation therapy.

A combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation allows 80 % 5 year survival rate. Counseling and psychotherapy are vital aspects of the medulloblastoma treatment plan.

Prognosis depends up on when the diagnosis is made and what line of treatment is started. Also, the outcome depends up on the level of risk, whether the risk is average or high.