What is an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor? (Definition)
Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) is a very rare (diagnosed in fewer than 10% of children with brain tumors) and aggressive tumor usually diagnosed in childhood. Although usually a brain tumor, ATRT can occur anywhere in the central nervous system (CNS) including the spinal cord. The tumor occurs mostly in the cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls movement and balance) or the brain stem (the part of the brain that controls basic body functions).
According to St. Jude children’s Research Hospital, ATRT often appears to result from changes in a gene that normally makes proteins to stop tumor growth. In ATRT, this gene does not function properly, the protein is not made and tumor growth is uncontrolled. More than 90% of cases of ATRT are related to this gene defect. While this defect commonly occurs only within the cancer, this gene defect may be inherited and your doctor can discuss a need for genetic testing.
Symptoms of ATRT may include the following:
- Morning headaches or headaches that are less painful after vomiting
Nausea and vomiting
Changes in activity levels
Loss of balance, increasing problems with coordination or trouble walking
Asymmetric eye movements or face movements
Increase in head size (in infants)
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