We aimed to identify factors that affect the time to diagnosis in pediatric brain tumors and investigate the effect of time to diagnosis on clinical outcome.
A retrospective study of children with brain tumors aged less than 18 years diagnosed at the University of Tsukuba Hospital over a period of 7 years was conducted.
Eighty-five consecutive patients, with a mean age of 9.1 years, were included in the study. The median interval from symptom onset to diagnosis was 45 days (range 0-1673); median interval from symptom onset to first presentation was 31.0 days; and median interval from first presentation to diagnosis was 13.5 days. Germinoma had the longest interval from symptom onset to first presentation, and from first presentation to diagnosis. Patients presenting with endocrine disorder had a significantly longer interval from symptom onset to first presentation (p = 0.019); those with visual disturbance (p = 0.016) or endocrine disorder (p = 0.030) had significantly longer intervals from first presentation to diagnosis.
Pediatric brain tumor patients with germinoma and presenting symptoms of endocrine disorder or visual disturbance have a longer time to diagnosis. Although improved prognosis is not clearly related to a shorter time to diagnosis, we believe that early diagnosis can lead to improved treatment and better quality of life. A detailed medical history and neuroimaging studies at the earliest time possible are important for early diagnosis.