OBJECTIVES Intraventricular astrocytomas (subependymal giant cell astrocytomas) of tuberous sclerosis have a poor prognosis due to the obstruction of CSF flow. The aim of this study was to determine whether they could be differentiated during childhood and at an early preclinical stage, from subependymal nodules without any growing potential.
METHODS The first two MRIs of all children referred to this neuropaediatric centre between 1987 and 1996 were retrospectively blindly reviewed.
RESULTS Out of 60 patients, 24 disclosed subependymal nodules localised near the foramen of Monro, and eight of the 24 developed astrocytomas. Subependymal nodules were first detectable on MRI from 1 year of age in all cases and the first MRI evidence of growth occurred between 1 and 9 years (mean 4 years). At an early stage, subependymal nodules had different characteristics in patients who developed subependymal giant cell astrocytomas from those who did not. The nodules over 5 mm in diameter that were incompletely calcified and enhanced by gadolinium were at higher risk of growing, particularly in children with a familial history of tuberous sclerosis.
To detect the subependymal giant cell astrocytomas earlier in tuberous sclerosis, it is advisible to systematically perform an MRI examination before 2 years of age and to repeat it every year if the patient has risk factors for developing astrocytomas.
- tuberous sclerosis
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