Di Rocco et al., report on 51 infants with intracranial tumours treated in an eleven-year period; these infants represent 13% of the total population of children with intracranial tumours who have been operated on in the same institution during the same period of time. Males (28 cases) were slightly more frequent. Astrocytomas (17 cases), medulloblastomas (12 cases), and ependymal tumours (5 cases) were the commonest histologic types. Signs and symptoms of increased intracranial pressure were by far the most frequent clinical manifestations, followed by seizure disorders. Thirty tumours were localized within the supratentorial, and 21 within the subtentorial compartment. The parasellar region (10 cases) and the lateral cerebral ventricles (8 cases) for the supratentorial tumours, the inferior cerebellar vermis and fourth ventricle (13 cases) for the infratentorial tumours appeared to be the preferred topographic locations. Craniotomies were carried out in 44 infants, with a total or radical removal of the tumour in 19 cases, a subtotal removal in 6 cases, and a partial removal in 17 cases. In 3 cases only a biopsy procedure was performed. Twenty-nine of these patients required an ancillary procedure such as CSF shunting. Three subjects underwent a biopsy procedure and 1 infant the insertion of a CSF shunting device only. Surgery was not performed in 5 cases. Overall, there were two surgical deaths. Two infants died before any surgical treatment could be performed. Radiation therapy was administered to 9 patients when they had reached three years of age. Chemotherapy was given to 21 infants, according to various chemotherapeutic protocols. During the postoperative period 20 deaths (39%) were recorded. Two patients were lost to follow-up. From 1 to 10 years after the operation, 29 patients are still alive, 14 of them (28%) with a normal psychomotor development, 10 (20%) with some neurological or mental deficits, and 5 (10%) with severe psychomotor retardation. There was no apparent correlation in this series between late outcomes and the histological type of the tumour 1).
Between 1975 and 1989, 98 children with brain tumours under the age of three at time of diagnosis were entered into a retrospective study. Twenty of them are alive and free of tumour more than five years after treatment and were evaluated in this study. Thirteen tumour localizations were infratentorial and 7 were supratentorial. A histological examination was performed in 15 patients: 5 ependymomas, 6 medulloblastomas and 4 astrocytomas were identified. Fifteen patients underwent surgical removal of tumour, all but one received radiotherapy and 8 were given chemotherapy. Only two children have not late effects. Analysis of long-term sequelae in survivors showed central endocrinopathies in 14 (70%), a neurological handicap in 13 (65%) and impaired cognitive functions in 17 (85%). Irradiation was clearly responsible for mental sequelae in 7 patients and endocrinopathies in 6 patients. The other possible causes are tumour injury, hydrocephalus or surgery. The risks incurred with radiotherapy and advances in infant brain tumour therapy are discussed 2).