An oligodendroglial tumor begins in brain cells called oligodendrocytes, which help keep nerve cells healthy. An oligodendrocyte is a type of glial cell. Grades of oligodendroglial tumors include the following:
Anaplastic oligodendroglioma (grade III):
An anaplastic oligodendroglioma grows quickly and spreads into nearby tissues. The tumor cells look different from normal cells. This type of tumor usually cannot be cured.
Oligodendroglioma (grade II):
An oligodendroglioma grows slowly, but often spreads into nearby tissues. The tumor cells look something like normal cells. In some cases, an oligodendroglioma can be cured.
They are most likely to be diagnosed in adults, although they do occur in young children. Rarely this tumour can spread within the central nervous system, in the fluid that circulates around the brain and spinal cord.
Because of their generally slow growth, oligodendrogliomas are often present for years before they are diagnosed. The most common symptoms are seizures, headaches and personality changes. Other symptoms vary by location and size of the tumor.
Tumors of the frontal lobe may cause weakness on one side of the body, personality or behavior changes, and difficulty with short-term memory. Temporal lobe tumors are usually “silent,” causing few symptoms other than perhaps seizures or language problems.
Most oligodendrogliomas occur in adults ages 50-60, and are found in men more often than women.