Nalin Gupta and James T Rutka Introduction

Pediatric brain tumors are a remarkably diverse histological group of neoplasms. Some tumors are curable with surgical excision alone, while others carry a much poorer prognosis. In general, the long-term outcome for most childhood brain tumors is better than that observed in the adult population.

Despite the stereotype of pediatric brain tumors being posterior fossa masses, these neoplasms can arise in any location in the brain. Although a child with an intracranial mass may present with a bewildering variety of neurological symptoms, various clinical patterns will emerge. For this reason, it is conceptually useful to organize the various tumors into geographic groups since this factor appears to have the greatest impact on clinical presentation and subsequent treatment. In this chapter, the major pediatric brain tumors will be grouped by site of origin into posterior fossa, sellar region, hemispheric and pineal region tumors.

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