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Atypical Teritoid/Rhabdoid Tumor

Originally published on January 22, 2013
Most recently updated on April 10, 2013

Atypical teritoid/rhabdoid tumors (ATRT) are rare, high-grade tumors that occur most commonly in children under the age of 2.  They can be found in any part of the brain and tend to be aggressive.  They spread throughout the central nervous system.


AT/RT grows very rapidly and, as a result, symptoms can develop quickly over days or weeks. Common symptoms of AT/RT include:
    •    headache (especially upon waking in the morning)
    •    nausea and vomiting
    •    fatigue and lethargy
    •    trouble with balance and coordination
    •    increased head size in infants (hydrocephalus)

Your child’s symptoms may vary based on his age and the location of the tumor.

Treatment for ATRT generally involves surgical removal of the tumor followed by chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may be considered depending on the age of the child and whether the tumor has recurred.

There is also ongoing and current research in ATRT that includes:
    •    New radiation techniques that minimize damage to healthy tissue that surrounds brain tumor tissue are under  investigation
    •    Scientists continuing to study chromosomal abnormalities, genes, and proteins that may have a role in the development and metastasis (spread to other parts of the central nervous system) of pediatric brain tumors.
    •    Clinical trials that are underway to develop chemotherapy drugs effective against this tumor.


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