Choroid plexus tumors are rare intraventricular tumors (1% of all intracranial tumors) that occur mainly in children. The physiopathological characteristics of associated hydrocephalus, surgical management, and oncological issues related to these tumors remain a matter of debate. To understand more about these tumors, the authors have reviewed their experience with the management of 38 children with choroid plexus tumors.
There were 25 cases of papilloma and 13 of carcinoma. The mean age of the patients at presentation was 22.5 months and one-half of the patients were younger than 2 years of age. Hydrocephalus was present in 33 patients and poorly correlated with the size, site, and pathological characteristics of the tumor. In nine children, a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was required after tumor excision, calling into question the notion that cerebrospinal fluid oversecretion is the only cause of hydrocephalus.
Complete excision was achieved in 96% of the cases of papilloma and 61.5% of the cases of carcinoma. These surgical procedures were complicated by the risks of perioperative hemorrhage, which proved to be fatal in two cases, and postoperative brain collapse, which led to subdural fluid collections requiring subdural shunt placement in six patients. Preoperative embolization was partially successful in four cases and significantly assisted surgery. Preoperative controlled drainage of excessively dilated ventricles and intraoperative gluing of the cortical incision have been used to address the problem of postoperative brain collapse.
Patients with carcinomas were treated postoperatively by chemotherapy alone (seven cases), radiotherapy (one case), or chemotherapy plus radiotherapy (one case). The overall 5-year survival rate was 100% for patients with papillomas and 40% for those with carcinomas.
Total surgical excision is curative in cases of papillomas. For carcinomas, the most effective treatment remains total surgical excision; however, adjuvant treatment in the form of chemotherapy in patients younger than 3 years, supplemented by radiation therapy in older children, can moderately reduce the risk of recurrence.