Intracranial tumors in infants: long-term functional outcome, survival, and its predictors
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OBJECTIVE: Intracranial tumors are rare in the first year of life. This study evaluates survival rates and functional outcomes of survivors at least 5 years after diagnosis and the predictors of this outcome. METHODS: A retrospective chart review of all infants with a primary intracranial tumor was carried out. Radiology and pathology were re-reviewed. Outcome was assessed at 5 years or more after diagnosis using Bloom's categories (Bloom 1-2 = good outcome, the rest = poor outcome) and late effects severity scoring. Age, tumor location, size, extent of tumor resection, type of adjuvant therapy given, and WHO grade of tumor histology were evaluated as predictors of outcome. RESULTS: Among 35 infants, 20 (57%) survived, with 12 (34%) having a good outcome. Deficits among the survivors included neurological dysfunction in 14 (70%), visual impairment in 9 (45%), endocrine dysfunction in 5 (25%), and auditory disability in 3 (15%). Ten of the 20 survivors were either attending regular school or were engaged in a skilled job. At presentation, older age and an infratentorial location of the tumor are predictors of poor outcome. After histopathological diagnosis, the WHO grading of tumor is the only independent predictor of survival (p = 0.002) and functional outcome (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: About a third of the infants diagnosed with brain tumors (34%) had a good functional outcome and approximately a quarter of them (28%) were able to attend regular school or take up a skilled job. After tissue diagnosis, histological grade of tumor is the only independent predictor associated with outcome.
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