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What Is a Childhood Low-Grade Glioma?

  • Low-grade gliomas are brain tumors that originate from glial cells, which support and nourish neurons in the brain. Glial tumors, or gliomas, are divided into four grades, depending on their cells' appearance under a microscope. Grade 1 and 2 gliomas are considered low-grade and account for about two-thirds of all pediatric tumors.

    In addition to their grade, low-grade gliomas are also classified based on their location and by the kind of glial cell — astrocytes, oligodendrocytes or ependymocytes—from which they arise. Most low-grade gliomas are both highly treatable and highly curable. The most common kind of low-grade glioma, called a pilocytic astrocytoma, has a cure rate over 90 percent.

    Low-grade Glioma Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Children and adolescents with glioma are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's through the Brain Tumor Center's Glioma Program, one of the largest and most experienced pediatric glioma programs in the world. Our glioma specialists — a team of neuro-oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and radiation oncologists — focus solely on the care of children diagnosed with gliomas. The Glioma Program also offers families the chance to have their child's tumor molecularly profiled (as long as a biopsy can be taken), which may help identify opportunities for targeted treatment.

    Learn more

    Find in-depth information on low-grade gliomas on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website, including answers to

    • What are the symptoms of a low-grade glioma?
    • How is pediatric low-grade glioma diagnosed?
    • How is pediatric low-grade glioma treated?
    • What is the latest research on low-grade gliomas in children?
    • What is the long-term outlook for children with low-grade glioma?