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Journal: Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society

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Very large (20-25 mm) and giant (≥25 mm) intracranial aneurysms have an extremely poor natural course, and treatment of these aneurysms remains a challenge for endovascular and surgical strategies. This study was undertaken to describe our experiences of endosaccular treatment of very large and giant intracranial aneurysms with parent artery preservation.

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Surgery and radiotherapy are mainstays of treatment for ependymomas (EPNs). Recent molecular subgrouping could be superior to histopathological grading for predicting the prognosis of patients with EPNs. Gross total resection is an effective treatment approach regardless of its locations or pathologic grades. Adjuvant therapeutic strategies could be decided based on molecular subgrouping with risk-stratification. Information of histologic-molecular biology is now providing clues to therapeutic insights.

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Radiation therapy is highly effective for the management of pediatric malignant central nervous system (CNS) tumors including embryonal tumors. With the increment of long-term survivors from malignant CNS tumors, the radiation-related toxicities have become a major concern and we need to improve the treatment strategies to reduce the late complications without compromising the treatment outcomes. One of such strategies is to reduce the radiation dose to craniospinal axis or radiation volume and to avoid or defer radiation therapy until after the age of three. Another strategy is using particle beam therapy such as proton beams instead of photon beams. Proton beams have distinct physiologic advantages over photon beams and greater precision in radiation delivery to the tumor while preserving the surrounding healthy tissues. In this review, I provide the treatment principles of pediatric CNS embryonal tumors and the strategic improvements of radiation therapy to reduce treatment-related late toxicities, and finally introduce the increasing availability of proton beam therapy for pediatric CNS embryonal tumors compared with photon beam therapy.

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Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a deadly paediatric brain cancer. Transient response to radiation, ineffective chemotherapeutic agents and aggressive biology result in rapid progression of symptoms and a dismal prognosis. Increased availability of tumour tissue has enabled the identification of histone gene aberrations, genetic driver mutations and methylation changes, which have resulted in molecular and phenotypic subgrouping. However, many of the underlying mechanisms of DIPG oncogenesis remain unexplained. It is hoped that more representative in vitro and preclinical models-using both xenografted material and genetically engineered mice-will enable the development of novel chemotherapeutic agents and strategies for targeted drug delivery. This review provides a clinical overview of DIPG, the barriers to progress in developing effective treatment, updates on drug development and preclinical models, and an introduction to new technologies aimed at enhancing drug delivery.

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Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood and remains a major cause of cancer related mortality in children. Significant scientific advancements have transformed the understanding of medulloblastoma, leading to the recognition of four distinct clinical and molecular subgroups, namely wingless (WNT), sonic hedgehog, group 3, and group 4. Subgroup classification combined with the recognition of subgroup specific molecular alterations has also led to major changes in risk stratification of medulloblastoma patients and these changes have begun to alter clinical trial design, in which the newly recognized subgroups are being incorporated as individualized treatment arms. Despite these recent advancements, identification of effective targeted therapies remains a challenge for several reasons. First, significant molecular heterogeneity exists within the four subgroups, meaning this classification system alone may not be sufficient to predict response to a particular therapy. Second, the majority of novel agents are currently tested at the time of recurrence, after which significant selective pressures have been exerted by radiation and chemotherapy. Recent studies demonstrate selection of tumor sub-clones that exhibit genetic divergence from the primary tumor, exist within metastatic and recurrent tumor populations. Therefore, tumor resampling at the time of recurrence may become necessary to accurately select patients for personalized therapy.

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Germline mutations in cancer causing genes result in high risk of developing cancer throughout life. These cancer predisposition syndromes (CPS) are especially prevalent in childhood brain tumors and impact both the patient’s and other family members' survival. Knowledge of specific CPS may alter the management of the cancer, offer novel targeted therapies which may improve survival for these patients, and enables early detection of other malignancies. This review focuses on the role of CPS in pediatric high grade gliomas (PHGG), the deadliest group of childhood brain tumors. Genetic aspects and clinical features are depicted, allowing clinicians to identify and diagnose these syndromes. Challenges in the management of PHGG in the context of each CPS and the promise of innovative options of treatment and surveillance guidelines are discussed with the hope of improving outcome for individuals with these devastating syndromes.

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The prognosis of brain tumors in children has improved for last a few decades. However, the prognosis remains dismal in patients with recurrent brain tumors. The outcome for infants and young children in whom the use of radiotherapy (RT) is very limited because of unacceptable long-term adverse effect of RT remains poor. The prognosis is also not satisfactory when a large residual tumor remains after surgery or when leptomeningeal seeding is present at diagnosis. In this context, a strategy using high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/auto-SCT) has been explored to improve the prognosis of recurrent or high-risk brain tumors. This strategy is based on the hypothesis that chemotherapy dose escalation might result in improvement in survival rates. Recently, the efficacy of tandem HDCT/auto-SCT has been evaluated in further improving the outcome. This strategy is based on the hypothesis that further dose escalation might result in further improvement in survival rates. At present, the number of studies employing tandem HDCT/auto-SCT for brain tumors is limited. However, results of these pilot studies suggest that tandem HDCT/auto-SCT may further improve the outcome. In this review, we will summarize our single center experience with tandem HDCT/auto-SCT for recurrent or high-risk brain tumors.

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Gliomas are the most common pediatric tumors of the central nervous system. In this review, we discuss the clinical features, treatment paradigms, and evolving concepts related to two types of pediatric gliomas affecting two main locations: the optic pathway and thalamus. In particular, we discuss recently revised pathologic classification, which adopting molecular parameter. We believe that our review contribute to the readers' better understanding of pediatric glioma because pediatric glioma differs in many ways from adult glioma according to the newest advances in molecular characterization of this tumor. A better understanding of current and evolving issues in pediatric glioma is needed to ensure effective management decision.

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In contrast to many of the malignant tumors that occur in the central nervous system in adults, the management, responses to therapy, and future perspectives of children with malignant lesions of the brain hold considerable promise. Within the past 5 years, remarkable progress has been made with our understanding of the basic biology of the molecular genetics of several pediatric malignant brain tumors including medulloblastoma, ependymoma, atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour, and high grade glioma/diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. The recent literature in pediatric neuro-oncology was reviewed, and a summary of the major findings are presented. Meaningful sub-classifications of these tumors have arisen, placing children into discrete categories of disease with requirements for targeted therapy. While the mainstay of therapy these past 30 years has been a combination of central nervous system irradiation and conventional chemotherapy, now with the advent of high resolution genetic mapping, targeted therapies have emerged, and less emphasis is being placed on craniospinal irradiation. In this article, the present and future perspective of pediatric brain malignancy are reviewed in detail. The progress that has been made offers significant hope for the future for patients with these tumours.

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Intracranial germ cell tumors (iGCTs) are a heterogeneous group of tumors with peculiar characteristics clearly distinguished from other brain tumors of neuroepithelial origin. Diverse histology, similarity to gonadal GCT, predilection to one sex, and geographic difference in incidence all present enigmas and fascinating challenges. The treatment of iGCT has advanced for germinoma to date; thus, clinical attention has shifted from survival to long-term quality of life. However, for non-germinomatous GCT, current protocols provide only modest improvement and more innovative therapies are needed. Recently, next-generation sequencing studies have revealed the genomic landscape of iGCT. Novel mutations in the KIT-RAS-MAPK and AKT-MTOR pathways were identified. More importantly, methylation profiling revealed a new method to assess the pathogenesis of iGCT. Molecular research will unleash new knowledge on the origin of iGCT and solve the many mysteries that have lingered on this peculiar neoplasm for a long time.