Blastoma

Blastoma in Brain: What Is It?

Blastomas are tumors that develop from abnormal cells (or tissues) within the body. They usually form when normal tissue becomes cancerous or metastasizes into other parts of the body. Blastomas may grow rapidly, causing pain and swelling in their vicinity.

The term “blastoma” comes from the Greek word meaning “little ball.” These small masses of cells have been known to cause tumors in animals, including humans. Some types of blastomas include lymphomas, leukemias, sarcomas and myelodysplastic syndromes.

Tumors can occur anywhere in the body but most commonly they originate from bone marrow (the organ’s blood supply). Bone marrow is located deep inside the bones where it receives blood from the rest of the body. When there is an injury or infection, these cells multiply quickly and release substances called cytokines which damage nearby healthy tissue. Over time, these blasts can spread throughout the body and become large enough to affect vital organs such as the heart, lungs or brain.

While the term “blastoma” can be used to describe any type of cancer that originates in bone marrow, it is most commonly used to refer specifically to non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

Treatment for blastomas usually involves a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The type of chemotherapy used will depend on the specific kind of tumor. In some cases, surgery may also be used to treat the patient’s symptoms or to remove the tumor altogether.

Blastomas in Children

Tumors may be more common in childhood and the teenage years because the body is in a constant state of growth. In addition, children are still developing their natural immunities, leaving them more vulnerable to illnesses that a fully developed adult would be able to fight off.

Some types of blastomas are much more common in children than in adults. Childhood tumors tend to be found in vital organs such as the brain and central nervous system.

Leukemia and brain tumors are among the most common types of childhood cancer. In fact, leukemia is one of the leading causes of death among children under the age of fifteen. Brain tumors can also be fatal if they are not treated swiftly.

Children with leukemia may experience symptoms such as fever, fatigue, weight loss, anemia, and frequent infections. Tumors of the brain or spinal cord may lead to headaches, personality changes, seizures, paralysis and other neurological problems.

If you are concerned that your child may have a tumor, contact a physician immediately. While there are many different types of tumors, the sooner they are detected and treated, the greater the chance of survival.

The Bottom Line

Blastomas are very rare forms of cancer that can occur in any type of tissue in a human body. Although there are many different kinds of blastoma, they all lead to serious health problems if left untreated.

Most children who develop blastomas suffer from leukemia or another form of cancer. These deadly tumors are more common among children and young adults. If you or someone in your family develops a mass anywhere in your body, see a physician immediately.

Blastomas cannot be prevented but early detection is the key to survival.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Pulmonary blastoma by D Francis, M Jacobsen – Pulmonary Diseases, 1983 – Springer

Pleuropulmonary blastoma is THE pulmonary blastoma of childhood. by LP Dehner – Seminars in diagnostic pathology, 1994 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

DICER1 mutations in familial pleuropulmonary blastoma by DA Hill, J Ivanovich, JR Priest, CA Gurnett… – …, 2009 – science.sciencemag.org

Pulmonary blastoma: a rare childhood malignancy. by MO Senac Jr, BP Wood, H Isaacs, M Weller – Radiology, 1991 – pubs.rsna.org

Pleuropulmonary blastoma: a marker for familial disease by JR Priest, J Watterson, L Strong, V Huff… – The Journal of …, 1996 – Elsevier

Pulmonary blastoma with argyrophil cells and lacking sarcomatous features (pulmonary endodermal tumor resembling fetal lung) by RL Kradin, RH Young, GR Dickersin… – The American Journal …, 1982 – journals.lww.com

Pleuropulmonary blastoma: a clinicopathologic study of 50 cases by JR Priest, MB McDermott, S Bhatia… – … Journal of the …, 1997 – Wiley Online Library

Type I pleuropulmonary blastoma: pathology and biology study of 51 cases from the international pleuropulmonary blastoma registry by DA Hill, JA Jarzembowski, JR Priest… – The American journal …, 2008 – journals.lww.com