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The exact cause of hypothalamic tumors is not known. It is likely that they result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
In children, most hypothalamic tumors are gliomas. Gliomas are a common type of brain tumor that results from the abnormal growth of glial cells, which are a type of cells that support nerve cells. Gliomas can occur at any age, but they are often more aggressive in adults than children.
In adults, tumors in the hypothalamus are more likely to have result from the spread of cancer from another organ.
People with neurofibromatosis (a hereditary condition) are at increased risk for this type of tumor in particular, and those who have undergone radiation therapy are at increased risk for developing tumors in general.
Molitch ME. Neuroendocrinology and the neuroendocrine system. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 241.
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