BACKGROUND: Pediatric neuro-oncology was profoundly changed in the wake of the 2016 revision of the WHO Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System. Practitioners were challenged to quickly adapt to a system of tumor classification redefined by molecular diagnostics.
METHODS: We designed a 22-question survey studying the impact of the revised WHO classification on pediatric high-grade glioma. The survey collected basic demographics, general attitudes, issues encountered, and opinions on pediatric subtypes. Participant answers were analyzed along socioeconomic lines utilizing the human development index (HDI) of the United Nations and membership in the group of seven (G7) world economic forum.
RESULTS: Four hundred and sixty-five participants from 53 countries were included, 187 pediatric neurooncologists (40%), 160 neuropathologists (34%), and 118 other experts (26%). When asked about pediatric high-grade glioma entities, participants from very high development countries preferred treating a patient based on genetic findings. Participants from high and medium development countries indicated using traditional histology and tumor location as mainstays for therapeutic decisions. Non-G7 countries tended to regard the introduction of molecularly characterized tumor entities as a problem for daily routine due to lack of resources.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate an overall greater reliance and favorability to molecular diagnostics among very high development countries. A disparity in resources and access to molecular diagnostics has left some centers unable to classify pediatric high-grade glioma per the WHO classification. The forthcoming edition should strain to abate disparities in molecular diagnostic availability and work toward universal adaptation.