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Astrocytomas account for nearly 50% of all childhood central nervous system (CNS) tumors(1).

  • Peaks in incidence between 5- 6 years and 12 – 13 years


This is a diverse group of tumors, with several different subgroups and grades:

  • High grade astrocytomas (HGA)
  • Low grade astrocytomas (LGA)


Low grade astrocytomas are the most common CNS  tumor of childhood. 


Astrocytomas in childhood:

  • Most frequently occur in the cerebellum
    • usually low grade tumors
  • Cerebral hemispheres and deep midline structures next most frequent sites. 

Neuraxis dissemination is uncommon and prognosis may be excellent if the tumor is amenable to gross total resection. 


Low-grade astrocytomas:

Proportion of pediatric tumors


Proportion of pediatric brain tumors


Median age of pilocytic astrocytomas

5-14 years

Median age of other low-grade astrocytomas

30-40 years

Gender bias

  • Pilocytic astrocytomas: none
  • Low-grade astrocytomas: 1.2: 1 male predilection
  • Anaplastic astrocytomas: 1.9: 1 male predilection


External link: General Information: Childhood Astrocytomas at the NCI



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