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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1999 Apr;123(4):342-5.

Malignant supratentorial ganglioglioma (ganglion cell-giant cell glioblastoma): a case report and review of the literature.

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Department of Pathology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



From both epidemiologic and pathologic viewpoints, gangliogliomas exhibiting components of giant cell glioblastomas are extraordinary neoplasms. We report herein the case of a 6-year-old girl who presented initially with a World Health Organization grade IV anaplastic ganglioglioma (a mixed ganglion cell tumor-giant cell glioblastoma). Despite aggressive management, the patient died of disease in a relatively short period.


Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue blocks were sectioned at 5 microm for histochemical and immunohistochemical analyses. Hematoxylin-eosin-stained sections and immunohistochemically stained sections from the primary and secondary resections were reviewed. Reactivity for glial fibrillary acidic protein, neurofilament protein, synaptophysin, and Ki67 nuclear antigen was evaluated.


Histologically, 2 distinct cell populations were noted on both the primary and secondary resections. The primary resection revealed a neoplasm having a predominant glial component consistent with a glioblastoma. Interspersed were dysmorphic ganglion cells supporting a diagnosis of ganglioglioma. The second resection (following therapy) demonstrated a much more prominent dysmorphic ganglion cell component and a subdued glial component.


Although immunohistochemical analysis clearly distinguished the 2 tumor cell populations, the identification of Nissl substance in neurons proved to be equally helpful. Although other cases of grade III gangliogliomas and rare cases of grade IV gangliogliomas have been reported, the present case is exceptional in that, to our knowledge, it is the only report of a patient who presented initially with a composite grade IV ganglioglioma and who was clinically followed up to the time of death. This case allows direct comparison between the histologic findings in a giant cell glioblastoma and a ganglioglioma and documents the aggressive biologic behavior of this complex neoplasm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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