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J Clin Neurosci. 1998 Jul;5(3):304-9.

Low-grade supratentorial astrocytomas in adults: Management, immunohistochemical analysis and long-term follow-up.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Auckland Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.


A retrospective review of supratentorial, low-grade astrocytomas in adults over a 10-year period (1983-1993) was performed. All 62 patients had computed tomography and surgery with histological and immunohistochemical analysis of the tumour. Radiotherapy was administered to all patients, regardless of the extent of surgical resection. Multivariate analysis showed that age of the patient at the time of surgery (P=0.008) and female sex (P=0.031) were the most important indicators of improved survival. No significant survival advantage was found with any particular symptom or symptom duration. Neither presence of a tumour cyst nor site of the tumour affected survival. Histological grading (St Anne-Mayo system) found 61 grade II astrocytomas (98%) and one grade I tumour. Six tumours (10%) were protoplasmic astrocytomas and 56 cases (90%) were diffuse fibrillary astrocytomas. Proliferation index derived from Ki-67 antibody staining and the presence of p53 protein expression were not significantly correlated with survival. Most patients underwent biopsy (79%) with 8% undergoing subtotal and 13% total resection. Increased extent of surgical removal showed a trend towards an improved survival (P=0.05). No survival advantage was found with increasing radiotherapy dose. Median survival in the study population was 5.1 years, with survival rates of 70% at 2 years and 53% at 5 years. The follow-up period ranged from 1 to 10.5 years. Younger age, female sex and the extent of surgical resection are important prognostic factors in the management of low-grade astrocytomas, whereas the efficacy of postoperative radiotherapy needs further evaluation. The prognostic significance of Ki-67 and p53 expression in low-grade astrocytomas remains to be determined.


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