Oligodendroglioma (oligo den dro glioma)

Glioma is the name of a group of tumors that arise from the supporting cells in the brain. Oligodendroglioma is a specific type of glioma also known as a brain tumor. They are soft, greyish-pink and frequently occur in the frontal or temporal lobe although, can be found anywhere within the cerebral hemisphere of the brain. They can be classified as low grade or high grade. They are common among men and women in their 20s-40s, but can occur in children. Oligodendrogliomas represent 4% of all primary brain tumors.


Some oligodendrogliomas grow slowly and may be present for years before diagnosis. Brain tumor symptoms vary from person to person depending on the size of the tumor and where it is located. Many times they do not immediately raise flags that alert a physician to diagnose a brain tumor. Since your brain controls many functions of the body, the symptoms will vary depending on where it is located in the brain. The general symptoms include: seizures, headaches, vomiting, weakness or paralysis, changes is vision, hearing and/or speech, personality or mood changes and physical/motor function changes.


Treatment options depend on the grade of the tumor and its location. If the tumor is low grade and symptoms are not severe, the doctor may decide to perform surgery, then “watch and wait” and evaluate tumor growth through MRI’s. If the tumor is malignant, surgery is usually recommended followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy. Both low and high grade oligodendrogliomas can recur. If the tumor recurs, the doctor will evaluate it and may recommend a second surgical procedure, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Specific chromosomal abnormalities involving 1p and 19q have been identified as as a subset of oligodendrogliomas. Treatment options may vary depending on these genetic markers.


Grading tells how a tumor looks under a microscope. The higher the grade number, the more abnormal the cells, and the more aggressive the tumor. Using the World Health Organization grading system of I through IV

  • Oligodendroglioma (grade II): Grows and spreads slowly and the tumor cells look very much like normal cells. Grade II tumors may evolve over time into Grade III tumors.
  • Anaplastic oligodendroglioma (grade III): Grows quickly and the tumor cells look very different from normal cells. It may grow in one place or in many places throughout the brain. Anaplastic tumors are malignant tumors.