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Medulloblastoma Treatment

Our Treatment Approach

At MD Anderson’s Children’s Cancer Hospital, your child’s treatment is carefully customized by highly specialized experts. They take a team approach to deliver the most-advanced therapies with the fewest possible short- and long-term side effects, keeping a constant eye on your child’s quality of life.

This team of experts may include renowned pediatric neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, neuro-oncologists and pathologists, all of whom specialize in delivering care to children. They are supported by a specially trained staff of nurses, therapists and other care professionals. This team remains with your child from diagnosis through follow-up, providing consistency and peace of mind.

Because of modern advanced treatments, more than two-thirds of children with medulloblastoma can be treated successfully. However, as many as 25 percent of these tumors recur. When they recur, treatment can be challenging and have less chance of success.

Our team specializes in treating relapsed brain tumors, including medulloblastoma.

Surgical Expertise

Like all surgeries, pediatric brain tumor surgery is most successful when performed by a specialist with a great deal of experience in the particular procedure. This is especially true with brain tumors, because it is crucial to remove as much of the tumor as possible while leaving intact as much brain function as possible.

Children’s Cancer Hospital neurosurgeons are among the most skilled and recognized in the world. They perform a large number of pediatric brain tumor surgeries each year, using the least-invasive and most-advanced techniques.
In addition, we offer a range of clinical trials of innovative treatments for medulloblastoma, including targeted therapies.

Leading Advancements in Treatment

We developed an innovative surgical technique of placing a catheter in the posterior part of the brain called the fourth ventricle. Chemotherapy can be given directly into this region of the brain.
An upcoming novel trial will allow specialized blood cells called NK cells to be delivered near the tumor. These cells have been shown by our neuroresearch scientists to destroy medulloblastoma cells.

If your child has been diagnosed with medulloblastoma, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Personalized multidisciplinary team approach
  • Leading-edge technology and treatments, including proton therapy, functional MRI, Gamma Knife, targeted therapies
  • Surgical expertise of top pediatric neurosurgeons
  • Range of clinical trials of innovative therapies, including personalized targeted therapies
  • Family-centered care, comprehensive support services

Medulloblastoma Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

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Our Medulloblastoma Treatments

Your child’s treatment for medulloblastoma will be customized based on several factors, including:

  • Your child's age and health
  • Location and size of the tumor
  • If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body

One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms.

Surgery

Medulloblastoma treatment almost always includes surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible without affecting surrounding areas. Studies have shown that if doctors remove more of the tumor,, the chances for successful treatment are better.

If the tumor is blocking the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the brain and spine, it may cause a condition called hydrocephalus, a build up of fluid that increases pressure in the skull. In these cases, surgery may be done to place a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt (VP shunt). This also is called an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV).  This small hole allows CSF to flow into the spinal column and relieves pressure.

Chemotherapy

After surgery, most children receive chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Children’s Cancer Hospital offers the most up-to-date and advanced chemotherapy options for pediatric brain tumors.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy beams to destroy cancer cells. Some children receive radiation therapy after surgery to stop or slow the growth of brain tumors that cannot be removed with surgery.

New radiation therapy techniques and remarkable skill allow Children’s Cancer Hospital doctors to target brain tumors more precisely, delivering the maximum amount of radiation with the least damage to healthy cells.

MD Anderson uses the most advanced radiation treatment methods, including:

  • Gamma Knife radiosurgery, which is not really surgery. It delivers a pinpoint dose of radiation from hundreds of angles
  • Focused radiation therapy, which is aimed directly at the tumor and immediately surrounding area
  • Whole-brain radiation therapy, which may be needed if a child has more than one brain tumor
  • Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), which shapes the radiation beam to the brain tumor and lessens exposure to the rest of the brain

Proton Therapy

The Proton Therapy Center at MD Anderson is one of the largest and most advanced centers in the world. It’s the only proton therapy facility in the country located within a comprehensive cancer center. This means this cutting-edge therapy is backed by all the expertise and compassionate care for which MD Anderson is known.

The dedicated pediatric radiation oncologists at the Proton Therapy Center have a depth of experience in treating children with medulloblastoma.

Targeted Therapies

Children’s Cancer Hospital is leading into the future of pediatric brain cancer treatment by developing innovative targeted therapies. These agents are specially designed to treat each cancer’s specific genetic/molecular profile to help the body fight the disease. Many of the doctors who treat brain tumors at Children’s Cancer Hospital are dedicated researchers who have pioneered and actively lead national and international clinical trials with novel targeted agents.  

Using gene analysis and tumor protein evaluation, we are able to understand the molecular biology of relapsed tumors and design personalized therapy.

Our Clinical Trials

Because of its status as one of the world’s premier cancer centers, Children’s Cancer Hospital participates in many clinical trials (research studies) for brain tumors. Sometimes they are your children’s best option for treatment. Other times, they help researchers learn how to treat cancer and improve the future of cancer treatment.

You can also visit our Clinical Trials database or speak to your doctor.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center