Surgical management of exophytic chiasmatic-hypothalamic tumors of childhood

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  • 1 Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, New York University Medical Center, New York, New York
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✓ Sixteen children underwent 18 operations for radical resection of chiasmatic-hypothalamic tumors. The clinical presentation correlated with age: infants under 1 year of age presented with macrocephaly, failure to thrive, and severe visual failure; children aged 1 to 5 years predominantly had precocious puberty with mild visual deficits; and older children (> 5 years old) had slowly progressive loss of vision. All three infants had biologically aggressive tumors in spite of low-grade histology, and died from progressive tumor growth. Eleven of the 13 children aged 1 year or over are alive and well, without clinical or radiographic evidence of disease progression, 4 months to 4½ years following surgery. Six of these patients, with a follow-up period of 10 months to 4½ years (mean 27 months), have had no adjuvant therapy following radical surgical resection. The authors conclude that: 1) radical surgical resection of chiasmatic-hypothalamic tumors can be performed with minimal morbidity; 2) radical resection may delay the time to disease progression in older children and postpone the need for irradiation; 3) resection of postirradiation recurrent tumors may provide neurological improvement and long-lasting clinical remission; and 4) chiasmatic-hypothalamic tumors of infancy are aggressive neoplasms that require multimodality therapy.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Jeffrey H. Wisoff, M.D., Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, New York University Medical Center, 550 First Avenue, New York, New York 10016.
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