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This tumor type develops from glial cells called oligodendrocytes.


  • Occurs frequently in the frontal or temporal lobes
  • Can be classified as low grade or high grade
  • Common among men and women in their 20s-40s, but can occur in children
  • More common in men than women
  • Accounts for two percent of all brain tumors
  • May be associated with 1p or 19q chromosomal losses


  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Behavioral and cognitive changes
  • Weakness or paralysis


Treatment options depend on the grade of the tumor. 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 MRIs. There is a malignant form called anaplastic oligodendroglioma and a mixed malignant astrocytoma-oligodendroglioma. The common treatment for these high-grade tumors is surgery followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Both low- and high-grade oligodendrogliomas can recur. If a tumor recurs, the doctor will evaluate it for a second surgical procedure, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. Gene expression studies are used to classify gliomas based on certain characteristics, or genetic profiles. Oligodendrogliomas can be identified by deficiencies in certain chromosomes named 1p and 19q. Genetic profiling of oligodendrogliomas provides a more accurate predictor of prognosis and treatment options than does standard pathology.

Please speak with your health care provider for more information about your tumor type, biomarkers, and treatment options, including clinical trials.

Progress for Patients with Oligodendroglioma

Discover how NBTS is advancing toward better treatments, quality of life, and health care for patients with oligodendroglioma through our DNA Damage Response Consortium research initiative.

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