Oligodendroglioma is a type of glioma, which is a brain tumor that arises from the brain tissue. Oligodendrogliomas most resemble oligodendrocytes, the cells that encircle and insulate the nerve cells of the brain. Oligodendrogliomas often are more anatomically discrete than astrocytomas, another type of glioma, and they are usually more superficial in the brain. However, they are rarely, if ever, cured by surgery alone. Similar to astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas vary widely in terms of their aggressiveness.
When possible, the preferred surgical treatment at UPMC for oligodendroglioma is Neuroendoport® Surgery, which provides access to the tumor through a dime-size channel. This minimally invasive approach offers the benefits of minimal scarring, fewer side effects and complications, and faster recovery times. Many oligodendrogliomas are removed using traditional approaches as well.
Like most brain tumors, oligodendrogliomas are diagnosed through imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans.
Your physician will also ask you about your symptoms. These may include:
- nausea or vomiting
- weakness or loss of sensation in the arms and/or legs
- speech, vision, or memory problems
- personality changes
Whenever possible, the tumor is removed surgically. Various methods may be used to treat oligodendrogliomas. These treatments may be used together or individually.
Neuroendoport® Surgery offers a minimally invasive option for deep-seated tumors within the substance of the brain or within the ventricles (fluid spaces). A narrow tube or port allows doctors to access tumors through a tiny incision in the scalp, in contrast to traditional brain surgery.
At UPMC, we take a 360° Approach to treatment when evaluating each patient—looking at their conditions from every direction—to find the path that is least disruptive to the patient's brain, critical nerves, and ability to return to normal functioning. Our neurosurgical team may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches to maximize the benefits of surgery while minimizing risks.
Radiation is commonly used to treat brain tumors, either alone or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may be delivered externally by directing radiation at the tumor from an outside source, internally by placing radioactive material directly in the body near the cancer, or using stereotactic radiosurgery to deliver a concentrated dose of radiation directly to the brain tumor.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells. Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, chemotherapy may be taken by mouth, as an injection, or placed directly into the brain tumor site.