Medulloblastoma

Also known as: cerebellar primitive neuroectodermal tumor, PNET.

What is medulloblastoma?

Of cancerous brain tumors that can affect children, medulloblastoma is the most common. They represent about 20 percent if childhood brain tumors, particularly in children between the ages of 3 and 8 years, with boys affected more than girls.

Medulloblastomas form at the bottom of the brain in an area called the posterior fossa (the area of the brain that controls balance, coordination and other functions), and tends to spread through the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid-CSF) to other parts of the brain and the spinal cord.

What causes medulloblastoma?

While the cause is largely unknown, gene mutations or other genetic conditions such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome or Gorlin syndrome increase risk. In rare cases it can be passed down from parents to children.

What are the symptoms of medulloblastoma?

Symptoms of medulloblastoma can include behavioral problems, changes in handwriting, clumsiness or balance problems, nausea, vomiting, vision problems, headaches, tilting of the head.

If in the spinal cord, back pain, bladder and bowel problems and trouble walking may be presenting symptoms.

What are medulloblastoma care options?

Treatments include neurosurgery used to remove as much of the tumor as possible, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, proton therapy and new biological agents to target specific mutations in these tumors.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: December 18, 2020 05:07 PM

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Brianna “Brie" Mestrovich was only 9 years old when she was diagnosed with pediatric cancer. The West Palm Beach native was referred to the Nicklaus Children's Palm Beach Gardens Outpatient center for an MRI because she was experiencing recurrent headaches that did not go away after several months.

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