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J Korean Med Sci. 2007 Sep;22 Suppl:S149-53.

Intramedullary clear cell ependymoma in the thoracic spinal cord: a case with its crush smear and ultrastructural findings.

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Department of Pathology, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Korea.


Clear cell ependymoma was included in the World Health Organization classification of the nervous system in 1993, and all the reported cases, except for two in the spinal cord, were located in the brain, mainly in the supratentorial compartment. Astrocytomas outnumber ependymomas in the spinal cord, and the two entities partly share cytologic findings such as long, bipolar glial processes and oval to round nuclei resembling those seen in pilocytic astrocytoma. Here, we report the first Korean case of intramedullary clear cell ependymoma of the spinal cord, which is the third case situated in the spinal cord in the literature. The crush smear revealed round-to-oval nuclei with occasional nuclear eosinophilic inclusion and rare nuclear grooves. Cytoplasm had fluffy eosinophilic glial processes, and acellular fibrillary zone. On hematoxylin-eosin stain, oval to round tumor cells had large central nuclei with indistinct nucleoli and a moderate amount of clear cytoplasm, i.e. perinuclear halo, mimicking oligodendroglioma. Perivascular pseudorosettes and ependymal clefts were rarely found. In retrospect, perinuclear halo was absent on crush smears. Ultrastructurally, they had extensive surface microvilli and edematous cytoplasm filled with abundant glial filaments and microlumens with or without microvilli. Intercellular long cell junctions of the zipper-like zonula adherens type were found.

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