The use of 5-ALA to assist complete removal of residual non-enhancing part of childhood medulloblastoma: a case report

Child's Nervous System, Springer Nature, ISSN 0256-7040

Volume 31, 11, 2015

DOI:10.1007/s00381-015-2762-y, Dimensions: pub.1032064900, PMID: 26070965,



  1. (1) Department of Neurosurgery, Neuroscience Center, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. (2) Rigshospitalet, grid.475435.4, Capital Region






PURPOSE: Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in childhood. Radical surgery in the non-metastatic stage is an important factor with respect to overall survival. In this case, 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) was used at second-look surgery in order to improve surgical results. METHODS: The child was pretreated with 3 × 4 mg dexamethasone for 4 days prior to the second surgery. At 5 a.m. on the day of surgery, a freshly prepared solution of 5-ALA (20 mg/kg body weight; Medac, Germany) was given orally. RESULTS: At surgery, through the original opening, the vague red fluorescence of the tumor was clearly distinctive from the cerebellum with no tumor infiltration. All fluorescent tissue was removed. Postoperative MRI gave suspicion of yet at small tumor residue, but this structure is less than 1.5 ml in calculated volume, and consequently the recommended adjuvant therapy of the child changed from the high-risk medulloblastoma regimen to the standard-risk regimen. CONCLUSIONS: In this particular difficult case of non-contrast-enhancing tumor, 5-ALA was of vital importance to improve rate of resection and change the aggressiveness needed in postsurgery radiation therapy.

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