Ependymoma is a tumor that develops in the central nervous system. It forms from the epndymal cells.
There are three different types of classifications for the disease, WHO grade 1, WHO grade 2 and WHO grade 3.
- Grade 1 consists of myxopapillary ependymoma and subependymoma.
- Grade 2 has epndymoma with clear cell variants and cellular papillary
- Grade 3 has anaplastic epndymoma
The myxopapillary ependymoma is known to be a morphologically and biologically distinct part of ependymoma: it is known to develop mostly in the cauda equina region of the body. At this point it behaves like Grade 2 ependymoma.
The subpendymoma tumor isn’t as common, but the lesions show similar benign characteristics of myxopapillary ependymoma. The tumor considered to be a primitive neuroectodermal tumor, or PNET, is the ependymoblastomas, which is distinctly from ependymoma.
Risk Factors and Causes
There are no known environmental causes for ependymomas, but there have been a number of mutations in the genes in the patients that are diagnosed with the disease. There has yet to be a determination for the relationship between the mutation and the progression of the tumor.
Signs and Symptoms
The ependymoma tumor is slow growing, so the signs and symptoms usually take time to show; it can sometimes take months. One of the top symptoms of ependymoma is an increased pressure inside the skull, also known as intracranial pressure. This is due to blockage in the ventricles, which is a space in the brain that is filled with fluid.
The cerebral spinal fluid is what protects the brain and spinal cord, so when the tumor increases pressure in that area, it can cause swelling. When this happens, signs like headaches, sickness / vomiting and changes in sight will be shown. Other symptoms include swelling in the nerves located in the back of the eye, neck pain, irritability, rapid and jerky eye movements. Seizures and changes in behavior have also been noted as symptoms of ependymoma.
To determine which of the treatments are needed, the doctor must first look at a number of factors, including the patient’s age, general health, the position and size of the tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. There are some risks for the brain in some procedures, but the physician you have will discuss this with you. Some of the treatments available include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Ependymoma is a rare tumor that can be found in both adults and children in four different locations, including the supra-tentorial, infra-tentorial, spine and conus-cauda-filum.Since this is a rarely diagnosed disease, it is sometimes difficult to get a proper diagnosis from a physician. There are no stages for ependymomas. Age and the treatment used will determine the outcome of the recovery for each patient. Most of the time, the younger patients have a better recovery.
There are no sure ways of preventing ependymomas.