Rare Primary Central Nervous System Tumors in Adults: An Overview

EURACAN Domain 10, Enrico Franceschi*, Didier Frappaz, Roberta Rudà, Peter Hau, Matthias Preusser, Caroline Houillier, Giuseppe Lombardi, Sofia Asioli, Caroline Dehais, Franck Bielle, Vincenzo Di Nunno, Martin van den Bent, Alba A. Brandes, Ahmed Idbaih*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
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    Overall, tumors of primary central nervous system (CNS) are quite common in adults with an incidence rate close to 30 new cases/100,000 inhabitants per year. Significant clinical and biological advances have been accomplished in the most common adult primary CNS tumors (i.e., diffuse gliomas). However, most CNS tumor subtypes are rare with an incidence rate below the threshold defining rare disease of 6.0 new cases/100,000 inhabitants per year. Close to 150 entities of primary CNS tumors have now been identified by the novel integrated histomolecular classification published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its updates by the c-IMPACT NOW consortium (the Consortium to Inform Molecular and Practical Approaches to CNS Tumor Taxonomy). While these entities can be better classified into smaller groups either by their histomolecular features and/or by their location, assessing their treatment by clinical trials and improving the survival of patients remain challenging. Despite these tumors are rare, research, and advances remain slower compared to diffuse gliomas for instance. In some cases (i.e., ependymoma, medulloblastoma) the understanding is high because single or few driver mutations have been defined. The European Union has launched European Reference Networks (ERNs) dedicated to support advances on the clinical side of rare diseases including rare cancers. The ERN for rare solid adult tumors is termed EURACAN. Within EURACAN, Domain 10 brings together the European patient advocacy groups (ePAGs) and physicians dedicated to improving outcomes in rare primary CNS tumors and also aims at supporting research, care and teaching in the field. In this review, we discuss the relevant biological and clinical characteristics, clinical management of patients, and research directions for the following types of rare primary CNS tumors: medulloblastoma, pineal region tumors, glioneuronal and rare glial tumors, ependymal tumors, grade III meningioma and mesenchymal tumors, primary central nervous system lymphoma, germ cell tumors, spinal cord tumors and rare pituitary tumors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number996
    Number of pages16
    JournalFrontiers in Oncology
    Publication statusPublished - 26-Jun-2020


    • CNS lymphoma
    • embryonal tumor of central nervous system
    • germ cell tumors
    • glioneural tumor
    • medullobalstoma
    • mesenchymal non meningothelial intracranial tumors
    • pineal tumors
    • pituitary tumor


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