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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2003 Jul;127(7):872-5.

Pigmented ependymoma with lipofuscin and neuromelanin production.

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Department of Pathology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong.


We report an unusual case of ependymoma with pigmentation, a phenomenon that has only been described in a few cases, to our knowledge. This tumor occurred in the fourth ventricle of a 45-year-old man. It showed the typical histologic appearance of ependymoma with perivascular pseudorosettes and rare ependymal rosettes. Some tumor cells contained brown cytoplasmic pigment, which was shown histochemically to represent a mixture of lipofuscin and neuromelanin. The pigment was positive for acid-fast and periodic acid-Schiff stains and was also focally positive for Masson-Fontana and Schmorl stains (bleached by pretreatment with potassium permanganate). In addition, some other tumor cells showed a signet ring morphology as a result of prominent intracytoplasmic vacuolation. Immunohistochemically, all the tumor cells expressed glial fibrillary acidic protein, and rare pigmented tumor cells also expressed HMB-45. Ultrastructural examination showed irregularly shaped heterogeneous electron-dense bodies corresponding to the pigment, and the cytoplasmic vacuoles were formed by dilatation of intracytoplasmic lumens lined by microvilli. Since lipofuscin production can occur in normal ependymal cells and neuromelanin has been suggested to be a melanized form of lipofuscin, it is not surprising that these 2 pigments can be found in ependymoma. In all the previously reported cases, the pigment was shown to represent melanin only. In our case, the HMB-45 positivity in rare tumor cells indicated that there might also be a minor melanin component in the pigment in addition to lipofuscin and neuromelanin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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