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What is Oligodendrogliomas?

Oligodendroglioma is a type of brain or spinal cord tumor. Oligodendroglioma develops from oligodendrocytes, brain, and spinal cord cells that generate a chemical that protects nerve cells. Myelin allows signals (impulses) to flow more swiftly through nerves.

Some of these tumors develop quickly, while others grow slowly. They have the potential to spread to other regions of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). They are rarely found outside of the central nervous system.

Oligodendrogliomas can manifest themselves at any age. They usually appear in young and middle-aged individuals and rather rarely (6 percent of the time) in children or newborns. Men are more likely to suffer from them than women. (Source)

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Oligodendrogliomas are divided into two types based on how quickly the tumor grows. Oligodendrogliomas are classified as follows:

  • Grade 2 (low grade) oligodendroglioma – These benign tumors develop slowly. They can exist for years without creating symptoms. They are usually limited to neighboring tissue.
  • Grade 3 (high grade) anaplastic oligodendroglioma –  These tumors are malignant and can spread fast to other parts of the central nervous system.


The cause of oligodendrogliomas is unknown. Oligodendroglioma is a kind of glioma, named after the type of cell from which it develops (glial cells).

Glial cells are glue-like cells that surround and support nerve cells. A tumor occurs when these cells expand uncontrollably.

Risk factors

Certain oligodendrogliomas contain observable chromosomal abnormalities that appear to contribute to disease progression.

Each chromosome is assigned a number by scientists. Chromosomes 1 and 19 have been discovered to play a role in the therapeutic response of oligodendrogliomas. Moreover, IDH1 gene mutations in oligodendrogliomas can result in a better prognosis for the tumors. Compared to other infiltrative cancers, oligodendrogliomas typically have a better prognosis and response to treatments.


The signs and symptoms of oligodendrogliomas vary depending on the size and location of the tumor. Some persons with oligodendrogliomas do not exhibit any symptoms. When the tumor grows and presses on nearby nerves, symptoms may appear.

The signs of oligodendroglioma are:

  • Seizures.
  • Headaches.
  • Physical weakness on one side.
  • Language barrier.
  • Changes in personality and behavior.
  • Movement and balance issues.
  • Memory issues.
memory issue


The following tests and techniques are used to identify oligodendroglioma:

  • Neurologic examination. Your doctor will inquire about your signs and symptoms while performing a neurological examination.
  • Imaging tests.  Brain tumors are frequently diagnosed with MRI, which may also be combined with specific MRI imaging techniques like functional MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. CT and positron emission tomography(PET) are two more imaging examinations that may be used.
  • Biopsy. Depending on your situation and the location of your tumor, a needle biopsy can be performed before or during surgery to remove your oligodendroglioma.


Therapy for oligodendroglioma is determined by the tumor’s location, size, and grade. Your medical treatments include:

  • Surgery –  When oligodendroglioma grows in an accessible region, the tumor is removed by surgeons.
  • Radiation therapy –  Radiation oncologists are cancer specialists who use high doses of X-rays to kill what remains of the tumor after surgery.
  • Chemotherapy – Anti-cancer medications that kill cancer cells all over the body. The majority of chemotherapy is administered via injection or tablet.
  • Clinical trials – If all other therapies have been tried and failed, you and your doctor may choose to consider clinical trials.

When do we see Doctor?

See your doctor if you notice any changes that are unusual or unordinary for you or if you have any of the possible cancer symptoms. Specialist tests on tumor cells can reveal the types of mutations that the cells have acquired. This provides your doctor with information about your prognosis and may help guide your treatment decisions.


Oligodendrogliomas are incurable. You can lower your risk of developing the tumor by reducing your exposure to X-ray radiation.

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