The standard treatments for oligodendroglial tumors are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Treatment options will largely depend on the presence or absence of symptoms, the locations and aggressiveness of the tumor, the extent to which the tumor can be removed in surgery and the extent to which the tumor is anaplastic (or cancerous, as opposed to benign). In some cases of low-grade tumors, patients have a series of imaging studies but do not need any medical or surgical interventions, whereas in others a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy is used. Also, because many patients may develop seizures, anticonvulsant medications are frequently prescribed.
These tumors respond well to one particularly chemotherapy regimen called PCV when used alone; however, the disease recurred in many patients—recurrence occurred between 16 and more than 25 months on average—and chemotherapy isn’t effective for recurrent oligodendrogliomas. Radiation therapy may also be useful, particularly when combined with chemotherapy.
Surgery, if it is possible, is the most common treatment. The surgeon aims to remove as much of the tumor as possible; in some cases, if it is all removed, the patient will not require any additional treatments, though follow-up care is necessary to make sure the cancer doesn’t come back.