Most Optic Pathways Gliomas Managed Conservatively

Doctor team
A patient lying on CT or MRI, the bed moves inside the machine, scanning her body and brain under the supervision of a doctor and a radiologist. In a medical laboratory with high-tech equipment.
Researchers show visual outcomes of patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 and optic pathways gliomas.

This article is part of Ophthalmology Advisor’s conference coverage from the 2021 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, held in New Orleans from November 12 to 15, 2021. The team at Ophthalmology Advisor will be reporting on a variety of the research presented by the ophthalmology experts at the AAO. Check back for more from the AAO 2021 Meeting.


Clinicians frequently uncover optic pathway gliomas in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1, but most cases can be managed conservatively, researchers at the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2021 meeting suggested. The findings were developed from the largest study in the English literature to investigate visual outcomes of optic pathway gliomas in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1, according to the presentation. 

The study was conducted at a tertiary cancer center to measure visual outcomes in patients with optic pathway gliomas. Researchers used data from 1382 patients seen between 2000 and 2020. Investigators accounted for patient demographics, tumor location, treatment, and progression of disease. Within the inclusion criterion were 210 patients (average age 32.4, 121 women). Of those, 89% are currently alive, according to investigators, and 11% are now deceased. The most common symptom associated with optic pathway gliomas in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 was blurred vision. Seven patients presented with nystagmus. 

While some patients were treated with recently FDA-approved MEK inhibitors, most were managed conservatively, according to the presenters.

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Shah BM, Gombos DS, Whyte A, et al.  Visual outcomes in neurofibromatosis type 1 patients with optic pathways gliomas at a U.S. tertiary cancer center. Paper presented at: The American Academy of Ophthalmology 2021 Annual Meeting; November 12-15, 2021; New Orleans. Abstract PA051.