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What is DIPG?

Updated: Sep 9, 2021


According to DIPG.org, DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, is a type of brain tumor found in an area of the brainstem known as the pons. The name diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma describes how the tumor grows, where it is found, and what kinds of cells give rise to the tumor.




Diffuse


Diffuse means that the tumor is not well-contained – it grows out into other tissue so that cancer cells mix with healthy cells.


Intrinsic


Intrinsic simply means "in", referring to the point or origin.



Pontine


Pontine indicates that the tumor is found in a part of the brainstem called the pons. The pons is responsible for a number of important bodily functions, like breathing, sleeping, bladder control, and balance.





Glioma


Glioma is a general term for tumors originating from glial cells. Glial cells are found throughout the brain. They make up the white matter of the brain that surrounds and supports the neurons (neurons are cells that carry messages in the brain).


Who is Affected by DIPG?


DIPG primarily affects children, with most diagnoses occurring between 5 and 7 years of age. It makes up 10-15% of all brain tumors in children, with about 150-300 new diagnoses per year in the United States. Unfortunately, fewer than 10% of children survive two years from diagnosis.


Clinical signs of DIPG


Sometimes parents notice:

  • odd eye movements

  • slurred speech

  • difficulty swallowing

  • trouble maintaining balance

  • or drooping of one part of their child’s face

Pontine tumors can press on and interfere with the function of these nerves, leading to weakness in an arm and/or a leg.

Tumors in the brainstem can also cause increased pressure within the skull. Increased pressure can cause patients to complain of persistent headaches and in some patients can lead to nausea and vomiting.


For more information, please visit DIPG.org, The DIPG/DMG Research Networks Website.




References Used and Resources:

The DIPG/DMG Research Network



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