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J Neurosurg. 1989 Jan;70(1):31-6.

Lack of histopathological correlation of malignant ependymomas with postoperative survival.

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Department of Pathology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville.


It is widely believed that an important determinant of clinical behavior and prognosis in patients harboring an ependymoma is the histological grade of malignancy of the tumor. Excluding from the present analysis examples of ependymoblastoma (a highly cellular, embryonal tumor occurring in children, with a notably poor prognosis and a tendency to subarachnoid spread), an attempt was made to correlate 15 cases of histologically malignant ependymoma with clinical recurrence and postoperative patient survival times. Ten patients (67%) were alive from 15 months to 14 years after surgery (median survival time 8.8 years); one patient had a histologically benign recurrence 11 years after surgical resection. Five patients (33%) died from a local recurrence of their tumor; their postoperative survival times ranged from 13 months to 6 years (median 2.5 years). The prognosis of malignant ependymomas is therefore highly variable. No correlation was possible between the tumor's histological features, site, or likelihood of recurrence. This lack of clinicohistopathological concordance contrasts with the known correlations that exist in astrocytomas.

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