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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Oligoastrocytomas are a subset of brain tumor that present with an appearance of mixed glial cell origin, astrocytoma and oligodendroglioma. Often called a "mixed glioma", about 2.3% of all reported brain tumors are diagnosed as oligoastrocytoma. The median age of diagnosis is 42 years of age. Oligoastrocytomas, like astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas, can have malignant (anaplastic) histology. However, lower grades can have less aggressive biology.


There are many possible symptoms of oligodendrogliomas that are similar to other gliomas. These symptoms may include headache, seizure and speech or motor changes.


A Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan is necessary to characterize the anatomy of this tumor (size, location, heter/homogeneity). However, final diagnosis of this tumor, like most tumors, relies on histopathologic examination (biopsy examination).


If resected, the surgeon will remove as much of this tumor as possible, without disturbing eloquent regions of the brain (speech/motor cortex) and other critical brain structure. Thereafter, treatment may include chemotherapy and radiation therapy of doses and types ranging based upon the patient's needs. Subsequent MRI examination are often necessary to monitor the resection cavity.


Even after surgery, an oligoastrocytoma will often recur. The treatment for a recurring brain tumor may include surgical resection, chemo and radiation therapy. Survival time of this brain tumor varies - younger age and low-grade initial diagnosis are factors in improved survival time.

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The content on this page was first contributed by: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D.