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Optic pathway glioma

Lawrence D Recht, MD
Section Editors
Jay S Loeffler, MD
Patrick Y Wen, MD
Amar Gajjar, MD
Evelyn A Paysse, MD
Deputy Editor
April F Eichler, MD, MPH


Optic pathway gliomas (OPGs) (also referred to as optic gliomas) are low-grade astrocytic tumors that occur in the optic nerve, chiasm, or both. (See "Classification and pathologic diagnosis of gliomas".)

The classification, diagnosis, natural history, and management of OPGs will be reviewed here.


Optic pathway gliomas account for approximately 2 percent of cerebral gliomas. They are typically slow-growing neoplasms that occur mainly in children, with 90 percent diagnosed before the age of 20 and 75 percent before the age of 10 [1].


OPGs are classified by anatomic location and by whether or not they are associated with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1, von Recklinghausen's disease).

Location — Low-grade gliomas may involve the anterior visual pathway of the optic nerve (25 to 35 percent of cases) or the posterior visual pathways (chiasmal and postchiasmal).

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 29, 2017.
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