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Alternate Names: Gangliocytomas, ganglioneuromas
These rare, benign tumors arise from ganglia-type cells, which are groups of nerve cells. Gangliocytomas (also called ganglioneuromas) are tumors of mature ganglion cells. Gangliogliomas are tumors of both mature nerve and supportive cells.The most common sites are the temporal lobe of the cerebral hemispheres and the third ventricle, although they might also occur in the spine. Cyst formation and calcification (mineral deposits) may be present in some cases. Seizures are generally the most common symptom. These tumors are small, slow growing, and have distinct margins. Metastasis (spread to other parts of the central nervous system) and malignancy are very rare.
Tumors arising from ganglia most frequently occur in children and young adults. They represent less than one percent of all primary brain tumors and about 4 percent of all pediatric brain tumors.
Following a complete resection of the tumor, chances of long-term survival are near 100 percent. If the surgeon could not remove the entire tumor, sometimes radiation therapy is necessary. The prognosis still remains very high, 80-90 percent.
Surgery is the standard treatment for both gangliocytoma and ganglioglioma. Radiation therapy may be required if there is remaining tumor after surgery.
New radiation techniques that minimize damage to healthy tissue that surrounds brain tumor tissue are under investigation.
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