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Brain Tumor Pathol. 2005;22(1):21-7.

Epithelioid glioblastoma: a case report.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Tokyo Medical University, 6-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan.


A 43-year-old woman who had undergone breast cancer surgery 1 year previously complained of headache and nausea. Her brain computed tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed a well-circumscribed, heterogeneously enhanced tumor in the right thalamus. She underwent gross total resection of the tumor followed by radiochemotherapy, and her clinical course was uneventful after surgery. Histological examination revealed a moderate number of tumor cells with fine bipolar processes in a mucoid matrix, which suggested pilocytic astrocytoma. The tumor was associated with microvascular proliferation but did not show significant mitosis or necrosis. In some areas, it had an epithelioid appearance, with ribbon-like, cribriform, and pseudoglandular patterns involving cuboid-shaped cells showing nuclear atypia and mitotic figures. Immunohistochemically, the tumor cells were positive for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin in the area resembling pilocytic astrocytoma, but in the epithelioid area they were negative for GFAP and vimentin as well as for breast cancer markers, including AE1/AE3. The proliferating potential, represented by the MIB-1 labeling index, was high (82.5%) in the area of epithelioid appearance, compared to only 3% in the area of pilocytic astrocytoma-like appearance. As a rare histoarchitectural variant of glioblastoma, the epithelioid pattern may represent a very primitive tumor cell phenotype. Typically, this pattern is characterized by well-circumscribed masses, although its clinical significance is unknown.

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