An oligodendroglioma is a type of glioma, that is, a tumor of the CNS that arises from glial cells. It makes up for about 20% to 30% of the gliomas, and occurs mostly in adults. Unlike the astrocytomas, they tend to be more present in the frontal and temporal lobes. On occasion, they may be multifocal however.
In the same way as other brain tumors, they present with focal cerebral dysfunction, which will vary and give a clue depending on location, and with generalized symptoms due to increased intracranial pressure.
Functionally, patients usually present with seizures, headaches, focal neurological deficits and personality changes. Seizures may be simple, complex partial, and even generalized.
These tumors are usually grossly soft, frequently with calcifications, hemorrhages, cysts.
Therefore, CT and MRI show calcifications; well demarcated tumors, without enhancement; the tumors are located near the cortical surface, with little or no edema. The tumors can be hemorrhagic (they are the most frequent intracranial tumor that bleeds) or be cystic.
More than half of the oligodendrogliomas are sensitive to PCV chemotherapy and radiation. Complete surgical resection is many times chosen however, as it also improves survival.
Frontal Oligodendroglioma with Calcification
Image Courtesy Lawrence Chin MD 97673c.8