Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)

Also known as: DIPG

What is diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma?

Glial tissue are cells of the brain that protects and supports the neurons. Tumors that start in the glial tissue at the base of the brain in the brainstem area (which controls breathing, heart rate and blood pressure plus other functions) called the Pons, just above the back of the neck, are called diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas.

These rare tumors are generally aggressive (when biopsied are usually Grade 111 or 1V), rapidly infiltrating normal brain tissue. They are difficult to treat.

What causes diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma?

There is no known cause, however a genetic mutation may be responsible.

What are the symptoms of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma?

As the tumor usually grows fast, symptoms occur quickly and frequently include:

  • arm and leg weakness
  • trouble with walking
  • balance or coordination
  • speech problems
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headaches
  • chewing and swallowing problems
  • unusual eye movements/ blurred vision/ double vision
  • drooping of one side of the face

What are diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma care options?

Radiation and chemotherapy are potential treatments for the disease (surgery is rarely used because of the risks of operating in this area of the brain). Unfortunately, the prognosis for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is often poor.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: December 18, 2020 05:02 PM

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