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Neurosurgery. 1999 Apr;44(4):721-31.

Supratentorial ependymomas in adult patients.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, The Neurological Institute of New York, New York 10032, USA.



Ependymomas arise from different areas in the neuraxis and have variable outcomes that depend on tumor location and patient age at the time of presentation. The predictive value of histology for these tumors is unresolved. We report a series of adult patients with supratentorial ependymomas to characterize the roles of surgery, histology, ploidy, and proliferation index in tumor control.


Fourteen of the 23 supratentorial ependymomas were in the region of the third ventricle and the remainder were located in the hemispheres. Resections were gross total in 12 patients, subtotal in 8, and biopsy in 3. A single pathologist reviewed all slides and quantitated the deoxyribonucleic acid. The mean follow-up duration was 95 months (+/-75 mo).


All of the malignant ependymomas were hemispheric (n = 4). Mortality occurred only in patients with third ventricular tumors; two patients died as a result of surgical complications and three as a result of tumor progression. Kaplan-Meier estimates of 5- and 10-year survival rates were 100% for hemispheric and 72.5% for third ventricular tumors (62.5% including the two perioperative deaths). The median time to recurrence was 53 months, with a 10-year progression-free survival rate of 27%. Univariate analysis revealed that recurrence was associated with malignant histology, including mitoses, cellularity, and aneuploidy. For nonmalignant ependymomas, recurrence was associated with subtotal resection and metastases. S-phase fraction did not correlate with recurrence. Only malignant histology correlated with recurrence on multivariate analysis.


Although the numbers are too small to draw any definite conclusions, treatment of ependymomas that arise in the supratentorial compartment in adult patients results in excellent outcomes despite frequent recurrences. Association with the third ventricle and metastases seem to have a negative impact on survival, whereas malignant histology, subtotal resection, and metastases may be predictors of recurrence.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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