Oligodendroglial Tumors | Neurology & Neurosurgery | Loyola Medicine

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Oligodendroglial Tumors

Overview and Facts about Oligodendroglial Tumors

Oligodendroglial tumors are a rare type of growth that occurs in the brain. There are two main types of oligodendroglial tumors:

  • Grade II, which is slow-growing and can take years to form. These are generally non-cancerous, meaning they’ll invade nearby cells, but they won’t spread to other parts of the body.
  • Grade III, which is fast-growing and cancerous, meaning the tumor may spread to other parts of the body

If caught early, the survival rates for these tumors are encouraging.

Signs and Symptoms of Oligodendroglial Tumors

People with oligodendroglial tumors can have many different symptoms depending on the location and size of the tumor. In many cases, symptoms will first mimic those of a stroke. About 60 percent of patients also have a seizure before being diagnosed. Other symptoms you may experience include:

  • Changes in vision and hearing
  • Changes with balance and coordination
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Paralysis
  • Personality and behavior changes
  • Problems concentrating
  • Trouble writing or reading

Causes and Risk Factors of Oligodendroglial Tumors

Doctors do not know what causes oligodendroglial tumors to form, but they think it may have to do with exposure to radiation and inheriting certain genes.

While oligodendroglial tumors can happen at any age, they are most common in people between 35 and 44. Oligodendroglial tumors rarely form in children. These tumors are also more common in men and caucasian and non-Hispanic ethnicities.

Tests and Diagnosis of Oligodendroglial Tumors

Diagnosing oligodendroglial tumors will require you to visit a neurologist for testing. First, the doctor will perform a physical exam to look at your overall health and conduct a neurological exam to see how well your body reacts to certain stimulants.

Other tests they may perform include:

  • CT scan to use X-rays to get cross-sectional scans of the brain
  • MRI to get detailed images of the brain using magnetic fields

Treatment and Care for Oligodendroglial Tumors

If possible, the first line of treatment is surgery to remove the tumor. However, doctors can’t always remove the entire tumor, so they may have to use a mix of the following treatments to improve the chances of long-term control:

  • Chemotherapy, which involves taking drugs that kill tumor cells and may include medications like procarbazine, vincristine, or lomustine
  • Radiation therapy, which uses X-ray energy to destroy tumor cells