This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Anaplastic ependymoma is a type of ependymoma, which is a tumor that forms when cells in the central nervous system (including the brain and spinal cord) begin to multiply rapidly. An ependymoma is anaplastic if the cells grow very quickly and are significantly unusual in shape. Ependymomas can occur at any age. When ependymomas occur in children, they are more frequently located in the brain (intracranial). Ependymomas are more often found in the spinal cord of affected adults. Symptoms of an anaplastic ependymoma depend on the age of the person and the size and location of the tumor but may include headaches, nausea, vision changes, seizures, and changes in mood or personality.
The exact cause of an anaplastic ependymoma is not known, but it is thought that certain changes (acquired pathogenic variants, also known as somatic mutations ) in specific genes in some cells of the body allow the cells to begin growing quickly. A diagnosis of anaplastic ependymoma is generally suspected based on imaging with MRI or CT scan. The diagnosis can be confirmed with a biopsy of the tumor or when the tumor is removed (resected). Treatment for anaplastic ependymoma begins with surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Radiation therapy is also recommended for people with anaplastic ependymoma.
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