Type of disease: Rare conditions
An ependymoma is a tumor that forms when cells in the central nervous system (including the brain and spinal cord) begin to multiple rapidly. An anaplastic ependymoma is one in which the cells are significantly unusual and grow very quickly. Ependymomas can occur at any age; when they occur in children, they are more frequently located in the brain, whereas they are more often found in the spinal cord of affected adults. Symptoms of an ependymoma depend on the age of the patient and the size and location of the tumor. Though the exact cause of ependymoma is not yet known, it is thought that changes (mutations) in certain genes allow the cells to begin growing quickly. Treatment for ependymoma begins with surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, and may include other therapies as well. Of all individuals diagnosed with an ependymoma, approximately half are alive five years after their initial diagnosis. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.