A brainstem glioma is a cancerous glioma tumor in the brainstem. Around 75% are diagnosed in children and young adults under the age of twenty, but have been known to affect older adults as well. Brainstem gliomas start in the brain or spinal cord tissue and typically spread throughout the nervous system.
Glial cells are the cells that support the brain. Tumors that occur from these cells are called gliomas. Glial cell subtypes of the CNS include: Astrocytes; Oligodendrocytes; Ependymal cells; CNS brain tumors associated with all three types of glial cells are recognized by the World Health Organization as astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas and ependymomas.
Oligodendrogliomas are a type of glioma that are believed to originate from the oligodendrocytes of the brain or from a glial precursor cell. They occur primarily in adults (9.4% of all primary brain and central nervous system tumors) but are also found in children (4% of all primary brain tumors).