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Also called: Gangliocytomas, ganglioneuromas

What is a ganglioglioma?

Gangliogliomas are tumors that start from groups of nerve cells (ganglion and glial cells) and grow in the brain. They are usually small and noncancerous, and they do not spread to other parts of the body.

How common is ganglioglioma?

Gangliogliomas are rare tumors. Most gangliogliomas occur in children and young adults.

What are the symptoms of gangliogliomas?

Symptoms typically develop slowly. Depending on the location, symptoms may include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness on one side of the body

How is ganglioglioma treated?

  • Surgery — is used to remove the tumor. If the entire tumor cannot be removed and it grows back or returns, doctors may closely watch the tumor or may use radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapy — uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing:
    • External radiation uses machines outside the body to deliver the X-ray dose. Different types of external radiation can be used in children. These include proton and photon beam radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy (“chemo”) — uses powerful medicines to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing (dividing) and making more cancer cells.
    • Chemo may be injected into the bloodstream, so that it can travel throughout the body.
    • Some chemo may be given by mouth.
    • Combination therapy uses more than one type of chemo at a time.
  • Targeted therapy — is a new kind of chemo that attacks a specific marker in the tumor. Many gangliogliomas may have specific markers that can be attacked by targeted therapy.

What are the survival rates for gangliogliomas?

More than 90% of patients with gagnlioglioma are alive five years after diagnosis.

Why choose St. Jude for your child’s ganglioglioma treatment?

  • St. Jude has one of the largest pediatric brain tumor programs in the country.
  • The St. Jude staff is dedicated to treating children who have serious illnesses. Here, you will find a hospital and staff that has only one focus—your child.
  • St. Jude is committed to not only finding cures, but also helping children hold on to their quality of life. Children are not just small people. Their bodies and systems are unique, along with the disorders that affect them. For the best care, they need a specialized team. That is what you get from the St. Jude Brain Tumor Program.
  • By working closely with the pediatric neurosurgeons at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, the St. Jude Brain Tumor Program offers an expert team of doctors from many medical fields. The team includes: neuro-oncologists, who study and treat cancer in the brain and nervous system; neurosurgeons, who operate on the brain, skull, scalp and spinal cord; and radiation oncologists, who treat cancer with radiation. The team also includes neuropathologists, who can use certain tests and markers to provide the correct diagnosis. Without the right diagnosis there can be no proper treatment. Also, the team includes highly specialized neuro-radiologists who can provide a detailed report on the tumor status. All of these doctors have devoted their careers to finding cures and providing treatment for children with brain tumors. This diverse knowledge is vital to the complete care of children with brain tumors.
  • Our brain tumor doctors also work closely with nursing, rehabilitation services, neuropathology, pharmacy, neuroradiology, neuropsychology, the school program, neurology, endocrinology, clinical nutrition, child life and social work, along with many others. Support staff members have been specially trained to care for children with brain tumors. We believe that providing holistic support for children and their families will ensure better quality of life.
  • The nurse-to-patient ratio at St. Jude is unmatched— averaging 1:3 in hematology and oncology and 1:1 in the Intensive Care Unit.
  • The St. Jude Brain Tumor Program has made great advances in treatments for brain tumor patients. Some of the world’s best neuroscientists, cancer biologists and doctors from the St. Jude Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Divisions combine their efforts to seek cures. In this interactive program, discoveries about the biology of both normal and harmful cell growth are rapidly tested in clinic studies. These studies include Phase I, II and III trials of the most common and deadly forms of childhood brain tumors.
  • Being able to take a drug directly from the lab to your child is one of the major advantages of centers like St. Jude. Before treating a patient with any new drug, the St. Jude staff does many tests in the lab. The tests show if the drug is safe, if it works, and the best way to use it to help patients.
  • St. Jude has created more clinical trials for cancer than any other children’s hospital in the United States.
  • St. Jude provides access to different research studies that uses targeted therapy directed toward specific tumor markers that can be present in some cases of ganglioglioma.
  • Along with the treatment studies constantly being developing at St. Jude, the staff also treats patients on studies developed by the Children’s Oncology Group, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium. Many St. Jude staff members play key roles in developing these studies, which are large tests carried out at centers across the United States.
  • St. Jude practices patient family-centered care. Patient family-centered care is health care that focuses on the family as a child’s primary source of strength, support and well-being. At the heart of patient family-centered care is the belief that health care staff and the family are partners, working together to best meet the needs of the child. Excellence in health care happens when we work together and honor the expertise each of us brings to every health care encounter.
  • St. Jude is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children.

Contact the Brain Tumor Team any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call our Brain Tumor Coordinator, Tabatha E. Doyle, RN:
(901) 595-2544

Or email us at

The St. Jude website is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through this site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.