Medulloblastoma is a fast-growing type of cancer that forms in the cerebellum (the lower, back part of the brain). Medulloblastomas tend to spread through the cerebrospinal fluid to the spinal cord or to other parts of the brain. They may also spread to other parts of the body, but this is rare. Medulloblastomas are most common in children and young adults. They are a type of central nervous system embryonal tumor.
The most common symptoms of medulloblastoma include behavioral changes, changes in appetite, symptoms of increased pressure on the brain (eg, headache, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness, as well as problems with coordination). Unusual eye movements may also occur.
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children and a rare brain tumor in adults. Although the cause of medulloblastoma is not known, certain things may increase the risk.
- Age: Most medulloblastoma cases are diagnosed before age 16, and usually between the ages of 3 and 8. In adults, it is rarely seen after the age of 40.
- Gender: Medulloblastoma is more common in boys than girls. In adults, it is also more common in men than in women.
- Genetic conditions: People with cancer predisposition syndromes like Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Turcot syndrome and Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (Gorlin syndrome) are more likely to develop medulloblastoma.
In rare cases, medulloblastoma can be passed down from one generation to the next.