Ependymoma is a serious condition that needs to be treated by a team consisting of neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists and radiation oncologists. Even with appropriate therapies, a fraction of patients cannot be cured.

As with most tumors, treatments are limited to three modalities: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Surgery is the most effective therapy for ependymomas, and is used whenever possible. Because of their deep location within the brain, however, it is often difficult to completely remove ependymomas without damaging vital brain structures.

Depending on the tumor's location, your child's neurosurgeon may remove as much of the tumor as possible by creating an opening in the skull in an operation called a craniotomy. If the ependymoma can't be removed due to its location, surgery may be limited to a biopsy or partial removal of the tumor.

The prognosis for children with ependymomas varies widely depending on the characteristics of the tumor and other factors, including location and percentage of tumor removed by surgery. The percentage of tumor removed by the surgeon is the most important factor in determining prognosis. Patients whose tumors can be completely removed have a much better prognosis than patients with incompletely removed ependymomas.

Although there is controversy regarding additional treatment for ependymoma, radiation therapy is often used when a tumor cannot be entirely removed. Chemotherapy is generally ineffective for ependymoma.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

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UCSF Clinics & Centers

Pediatric Brain Center

Pediatric Brain Tumor Center
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-2986
Fax: (415) 353-2657
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Neurosurgery Clinic
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor, 5A
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-7500
Fax: (415) 353-2889
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