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Congenital tumors of the central nervous system: an institutional review of 64 cases with emphasis on tumors with unique histologic and molecular characteristics.

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Congenital brain tumors are rare accounting for 0.5%-1.9% of all pediatric brain tumors. While different criteria have been used to classify a tumor as congenital, those diagnosed prior to 6 months of age are considered to be "probably" congenital in origin. We performed an institutional review of all central nervous system (CNS) tumors (surgical and autopsy specimens from 1990 to 2019) in patients less than 6 months old. Sixty-four unique cases were identified, and these accounted for 2.0% of all CNS tumor specimens at our institution. The most common tumor types were high-grade gliomas, low-grade gliomas and medulloblastomas. Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors, choroid plexus tumors and germ cell tumors also accounted for a significant portion of the cohort. Seven tumors were diagnosed prenatally. The most common clinical presentation at diagnosis was increased head circumference. At the conclusion of the study, over half of the patients were alive including all patients with WHO grade I and II tumors. Ninety-two percent of cases were classifiable using the 2016 WHO system, and when available, molecular findings supported the histologic diagnoses. However, several gliomas had unusual histologic features and did not correspond to a well-defined entity. Molecular testing was essential for accurate classification of a subset of these tumors, and several high-grade gliomas exhibited fusions considered unique to infantile gliomas, including those involving the MET, ALK and NTRK genes. To our knowledge, this cohort represents the largest single-institution study of congenital CNS tumors and highlights many ways in which congenital CNS tumors are distinct from CNS tumors of older pediatric patients and adults.

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