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J Neurooncol. 1997 Nov;35(2):169-76.

Is medulloblastoma the same tumor in children and adults?

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Neurology, University of Turin, Italy.


The appearance of medulloblastoma in adult age and the uncertain overlapping of prognostic factors in pediatric and adult populations stimulate the question of whether medulloblastoma is different in adults and in children. The pathologic features, proliferation potential and glial/neuronal differentiation have been investigated in 42 adult medulloblastomas and 42 medulloblastomas of children; the quantitative data have been compared between the two groups of age. Homer-Wright rosettes, nuclear polymorphism and histologic signs of neuronal differentiation were more frequent in children cases; GFAP-positive tumor cells and desmoplastic type were more frequent in adult cases. The mean, median and rage of Lis, with PCNA and MIB-1 were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in adults than in children. All cases, independently from age of the patients were immunoreactive with markers of neuronal commitment (class III beta tubulin isotype, MAP-2, neurofilaments). The immunoreactivity pattern suggested a more mature neuronal character in desmoplastic cases of adults than of children and in classic cases of children than of adults. In conclusion, some phenotypic differences between childhood and adult medulloblastoma exist, but do not support a substantially different course of the disease. The higher proliferation potential in adult than in childhood cases is unexpected in a tumor of embryonal origin, and reduces the applicability of Collin's law to medulloblastoma.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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