Neurosurgical treatment of pediatric pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas: long-term follow-up of a single-institution, consecutive series of 12 patients

Restricted access


The authors conducted a study to delineate the long-term results of the surgical treatment of pediatric pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas (PXAs).


All consecutive children and adolescents (0–20 years) who underwent primary tumor resection for a PXA during the years 1972–2015 were included in this retrospective study on surgical morbidity, mortality rate, academic achievement, and/or work participation. Gross motor function and activities of daily living were scored according to the Barthel Index.


Of the 12 patients, 8 patients were in the 1st decade of life and 4 in the 2nd. The male/female ratio was 6:6. No patient was lost to follow-up. One patient presented with severe progressive tumor disease and died within 3 months after repeated resection. Another child died 3 days following a second surgical procedure involving gross-total resection (GTR) 8 years after the initial operation. The other 10 patients were alive at the latest follow-up when they reached the median age of 34 years (range 11–60 years). The median follow-up duration was 22 years (range 2–41 years). Barthel Index score was 100 in all 10 survivors. A total 18 tumor resections were performed. Five patients underwent a second tumor resection after MRI/CT confirmed recurrent tumor disease, from 6 months up to 17 years after the initial operation. Only one of our patients received adjuvant therapy: a 19-year-old male who underwent resection (GTR) for a right-sided temporal tumor in 1976. This particular tumor was originally classified as astrocytoma WHO grade IV, and postoperative radiotherapy (54 Gy) was given. The histology was reclassified to that of a PXA. Seven of 8 children whose primary tumor resection was performed more than 20 years ago are alive as of this writing—i.e., 88% observed 20-year survival. These are long-term survivors with good clinical function and all are in full- or part-time work.


Pediatric patients with PXA can be treated with resection alone with rewarding results. Recurrences are not uncommon, but repeated surgery is well tolerated and should be considered in low-grade cases before adjuvant therapy is implemented. Follow-up including repeated MRI is important during the first postoperative years, since individual patients may have a more aggressive tumor course.

ABBREVIATIONS ADL = activities of daily living; GTR = gross-total resection; ICP = intracranial pressure; PXA = pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma; STR = subtotal resection.

Article Information

Correspondence Tryggve Lundar: Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online February 8, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2018.11.PEDS18449.

Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.



  • View in gallery

    Patient 7. A–C: Preoperative coronal, axial, and sagittal MR images revealing an enormous tumor. D and E: Images obtained more than 20 years later.





All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 26 26 26
Full Text Views 8 8 8
PDF Downloads 12 12 12
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0


Google Scholar