Childhood Brain Tumor Types and Programs

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Childhood Cancer Clinical Trials

Find answers to common questions about clinical trials for childhood cancer, including whether or not a clinical trial may be the right choice for your child. Contact us and we can help you navigate your options.

Clinical Trials for Pediatric Patients

Brain tumors are relatively rare in children, occurring in only five of every 100,000 children. Childhood brain tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), but both types can be life-threatening. It’s worth noting that children with brain tumors often have a better prognosis than adults with a similar condition, and most children and adolescents who are diagnosed with a brain tumor will survive into adulthood.

Brain tumors have traditionally been given names (classified) based on the tumor’s location within the brain and according to how they look under a microscope. However, as scientists learn more about the specific genetic mutations within childhood brain tumors, they are starting to formulate more specific diagnoses, as well as targeted treatments (precision medicine) to treat childhood brain tumors.

Tumors We Treat

At Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, we treat every type of childhood brain tumor, even the most rare brain tumor types and sub-types. Types of brain tumors we treat include:

Choroid Plexus Tumors

Germ Cell Tumors of the Brain


There are four stages or “grades” of gliomas, according to how the cells look under a microscope. Ordered from least severe to most severe, they are:

Gliomas can also be categorized by the type of glial cells involved or where the tumor is within the brain. Glioma diagnoses include:

Neural Tumors


It is important that children with brain tumors be treated at a specialized pediatric brain tumor center. The types of brain tumors most common in children are not the same as those most common in adults. Childhood brain tumors frequently appear in different locations within the brain and behave differently than brain tumors in adults.

Our Childhood Brain Tumor Programs

Glioma Program

The pediatric Glioma Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's is one of the world’s largest pediatric glioma treatment programs. Ongoing research on the genetic and molecular causes of pediatric gliomas is transferred to the bedside, where some of the world’s most most experienced pediatric brain tumor specialists and pediatric subspecialists use sophisticated technology and therapies to maximize outcomes for our patients.

Medulloblastoma Program

Under a microscope, medulloblastomas appear similar to other brain tumors, such as pineoblastomas and primitive neuroectodermal tumors, but medulloblastomas behave differently and may require different treatment plans. The specialists in our Medulloblastoma Program have the expertise required to accurately diagnose these tumors and provide a personalized treatment plan tailored to the needs of each individual patient.

Survivorship Program

The Stop & Shop Family Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center empowers pediatric survivors of brain or spinal cord tumors and their families to lead the healthiest and most fulfilling lives possible - through clinical care, education, and research.