Document Type

Review Article

Department

Haematology/Oncology; Paediatrics and Child Health; Neurosurgery

Abstract

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumour in children and is a major cause of mortality and morbidity, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. It has been risk-stratified on the basis of clinical (age, metastasis and extent of resection) and histological subtypes (classic, desmoplastic and anaplastic). However, recently medulloblastoma has been sub-grouped by using a variety of different genomic approaches, such as gene expression profiling, micro-ribonucleic acid profiling and methylation array into 4 groups, namely Wingless, Sonic hedgehog, Group 3 and Group 4. This new sub-grouping has important therapeutic and prognostic implications. After acute leukaemia, brain tumour is the second most common malignancy in the paediatric age group. The improvement in outcome of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in low- and middle-income countries reflects the relative simplicity of diagnostic procedures and management. Unlike leukaemia, the management of brain tumours requires a complex multidisciplinary approach, including neuro-radiologists, neurosurgeons with a paediatric expertise, neuropathologists, radiation oncologists and neuro-oncologists. In addition, the equipment required for the diagnosis (magnetic resonance imaging scan, histological, molecular and genetic techniques) and the management (operating room, radiation facilities) is a limiting factor in countries with limited resources. In Pakistan, there are very few centres able to treat children with brain tumours. The current literature review was planned to provide an update on the management of this tumour.

Publication

JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association

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