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September 25, 1991

Management of Childhood Brain Tumors

JAMA. 1991;266(12):1704. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470120106048

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Brain tumors are second only to leukemia among childhood malignancies and are an important cause of death in children. Unfortunately, children with brain tumors have not experienced the dramatic improvement in survival that has accompanied the management of lymphoproliferative disorders. The glioblastoma of childhood is one of the most devastating neoplasms we know, and such tumors as primitive neuroectodermal tumors, anaplastic astrocytomas, and medulloblastomas remain extremely difficult to deal with.

Most of us who treat childhood brain tumors believe that we will see major advances over the next few years. Much of this has to do with technical achievements: using the operating microscope, surgery can be done with greater safety, and with major resection, focal radiation therapy can be given, and chemotherapeutic agents and administration techniques are constantly improving. In some tumors such as medulloblastomas, these advances are being signaled even now.

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