• Rare Tumors Program

    At Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, we are committed to providing exceptional care for children with rare and complex cancerous conditions. Our program offers the latest therapies and clinical trials and provides access to pediatric experts with extensive experience treating children and young adults with rare solid tumors. Because we are one of the largest pediatric cancer centers in the world, our specialists develop a deeper expertise in each sub-type of pediatric cancer, including rare tumors, than is possible at most other cancer centers.

    Our Rare Tumors Program has the expertise to diagnose and treat a wide range of rare childhood cancers, such as:

    How We Diagnose Rare Tumors

    Our pediatric oncologists may order a number of different tests to determine the type and location of the tumor. In addition to a physical examination and medical history, diagnostic procedures for these tumors may include imaging tests, including MRI, PET, and/or CT scan, biopsy, blood tests, and lumbar puncture (spinal tap), as well as specialized tests based on the type of cancer suspected.

    How We Treat Rare Tumors

    Treatments for rare tumors are based on the type of tumor, the child’s age, overall health and medical history, location and size of the tumor, the extent of disease, and the doctor’s expectations for how the tumor will behave.

    Surgery is used to treat many rare forms of cancer. Following surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may be used to kill off any remaining cancer cells. This may include the use of new biologic agents that target specific mutations in these tumors.

    Depending on the type of cancer, other treatments may also be used, including high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant, chemoembolization, cryotherapy, thermotherapy, laser therapy, or shunts that drain fluid buildup from the brain.

    Our Rare Tumors Specialists

    Patients who come to us for treatment have access to the broadest set of pediatric and oncologic expertise available. The breadth of our expertise allows us to assemble a team of experts to meet the specific needs of our individual patients.

    At the core of the treatment team are pediatric oncologists with expertise in treating many rare forms of cancer. Many of our specialists are also active researchers, so our patients have access to the most advanced treatments available.

    From there, we build a team that is best suited to carry out the patient’s treatment plan, including radiation oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists and nurses, as well as specialists in neurology, endocrinology, dermatology, ophthalmology, and hepatology (liver specialists). We round out the team with experts who help the child prepare for life during and after treatment, including psychiatrists and psychologists, child life specialists, social workers, nutritionists, and school specialists.

    Rare Tumors Research & Clinical Trials

    Children who are treated through our Rare Tumors Program benefit from the work of our basic and clinical researchers, who are striving to understand the scientific causes of rare cancers, which results in the introduction of new treatment options. We are a world leader in “translational” research, bringing laboratory advances to the bedside and into doctors’ offices as quickly as possible. In addition, we are the New England Phase I Center of the Children’s Oncology Group. Children with progressive or recurrent tumors may be eligible for a number of experimental therapies through this group or through one of our independent clinical trials. Search our current trials
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  • Solid Tumor Clinical Trials

    Through research and clinical trials, we are developing innovative therapies and helping to improve treatment for solid tumors.callout bg