Ependymoma is a kind of tumor that can develop in the brain or spinal cord. It is a specific kind of primary tumor of the central nervous system. Ependymoma starts in the ependymal cells that line the tracts in the brain and spinal cord where the cerebrospinal fluid flows. Ependymoma is a form of glioma, meaning it begins in glial cells. The brain and spinal cord’s neurons are supported by glial cells. Ependymomas typically do not spread other parts of the body and grow slowly.
Although it can happen to anyone, ependymoma most frequently affects young children. Ependymoma in children can cause headaches and seizures. Adult-onset ependymoma is more likely to develop in the spinal cord and can result in weakness in the area of the body that is controlled by the nerves that are affected by the tumor.
Ependymomas are rated by healthcare providers on a scale of 1 to 3, with grade 1 tumors developing the slowest and grade 3 tumors growing the fastest. Ependymomas come in a variety of types, including:
- Subependymoma (grade 1): grows close to the ventricles, which contain the cerebrospinal fluid. Adults are more likely than kids to be affected of it.
- Myxopapillary ependymoma (grade 1): occurs more frequently in adult men and grows in the lower spinal cord.
- Classic ependymoma (grade 2): both children and adults can develop the most common ependymoma.
- Anaplastic ependymoma (grade 3): often forms near the base of the brain and spreads to various areas of the brain. Following treatment, these cancers frequently come back (recur).
The location, size, and age of the tumor all affect the symptoms of an ependymoma. An ependymoma in infants may result in:
- Unusual large head
- Sleeplessness or tiredness.
Ependymomas in older children and adults may result in:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Pain at the neck and back
- Blurry vision
- Balance and stability problem
- Headache or dizziness
- Problem in urination
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness at the arms or legs
Ependymoma’s cause is unknown. Typically, particular genes change (mutate) when cancer develops. These gene mutations’ causes are unknown to experts. According to research, those who have neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) are more prone to develop ependymomas.
Children are more likely than adults to have epidermomas. They rank as the sixth most typical kind of pediatric brain tumor.