Disease Information

Brain Tumor: Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)

Alternate Names: Pontine Glioma or Brainstem glioma


What are Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas?

DIPG is a type of tumor that starts in the brain stem, the part of the brain just above the back of the neck and connected to the spine. The brain stem controls breathing, heart rate and the nerves and muscles that help us see, hear, walk, talk and eat. These tumors are called gliomas because they grow from glial cells, a type of supportive cell in the brain.

DIPG falls into the Glioma staging system, so they can be classified according to the four stages below based on how the cells look under the microscope. The grades are from the least severe to the most severe.

The main issue with DIPG is that most of these tumors are not classified by grade because surgery to obtain tissue by biopsy or to remove the tumor is not safe because of the location of the tumor. When these tumors are biopsied, they are usually grade III or grade IV tumors, which tend to behave very aggressively. Most of the tumors are diagnosed by their appearance on MRI.


How common are DIPG?


What are the symptoms of a DIPG?

Symptoms usually develop rapidly in the majority of patients because of the fast growth of these tumors.

The most common symptoms related to DIPG include the following:


How is DIPG treated?


What are the survival rates for DIPG?

Unfortunately, the survival rate for DIPG remains very low. At this time there is no cure for this tumor. The brain tumor team at St. Jude along with colleagues at many other pediatric brain tumor programs across the U.S. will continue to strive toward finding a cure for patients with DIPG.


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

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
(901) 595-4599

Or email us at braintumors@stjude.org

 

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