How an infant's tumor had fully formed teeth inside

A 4-month-old baby boy was found with a rare brain tumor, but that wasn’t the only unique factor of the situation. Doctors also discovered fully formed teeth inside the tumor during surgery, the New England Journal of Medicine reported.

The infant received an MRI scan after routine doctor visits revealed his head growing at an abnormal rate. The MRI showed a brain tumor with what appeared to be the same structures commonly found in the lower jaw, stated the report.

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After closer examination, doctors diagnosed the baby with craniopharyngioma, which is a benign tumor.

According to Live Science, this type of tumor is often found to have calcium deposits inside.

Dr. Narlin Beaty, a neurosurgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center and one of the report’s authors, told Live Science that experts have suspected teeth-forming cells were involved in the tumor’s formation. However, this unusual case provides further evidence.

Although not unheard of, Beaty said finding teeth in any tumor isn’t common. This may also be the first known case of teeth in a craniopharyngioma.

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This type of tumor is a slow-growing one that’s rarely found in children under age 2, according to the National Cancer Institute. It often occurs close to the pituitary gland located near the center of the brain.

Because the gland controls many important hormones, the tumor can interfere with the body’s production of those hormones. It also causes vision problems in some children.

A craniopharyngioma is said to have cyst-like qualities due to excess fluid, but it’s also partially a mass. Although benign, it does require treatment to prevent further damage.

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The infant boy now needs thyroid and adrenal hormone replacement therapy due to damage from the tumor. However, in the year following the surgery, the researchers stated the boy was “making good developmental progress.”