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Radiographics. 1996 Nov;16(6):1413-38; quiz 1462-3.

Glioblastoma multiforme: radiologic-pathologic correlation.

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Department of Radiologic Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC, USA.


Astrocytic tumors are divided into two basic categories: circumscribed (grade I) or diffuse (grades II-IV). All diffuse astrocytomas tend to progress to grade IV astrocytoma, which is synonymous with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). GBMs are characterized by marked neovascularity, increased mitosis, greater degree of cellularity and nuclear pleomorphism, and microscopic evidence of necrosis. Several genetic abnormalities have been associated with the development of GBM: In some cases, the abnormality is inherited (e.g., Li-Fraumeni syndrome); in others, genetic alteration appears to result from mutation into an oncogene or deterioration of the tumor-suppressor gene p53. A common, distinctive histopathologic feature of GBM is pseudopalisading. The most common imaging appearance of GBM is a large heterogeneous mass in the supratentorial white matter that exerts considerable mass effect. Less frequently, GBM can occur near the dura mater or in the corpus callosum, posterior fossa, and spinal cord. GBM typically contains central areas of necrosis, has thick irregular walls, and is surrounded by extensive, vasogenic edema, but the tumor may also have thin round walls, scant edema, or a cystic appearance with a mural nodule. GBMs most commonly metastasize from their original location by direct extension along white matter tracts; however, cerebrospinal fluid, subependymal, and hematogenous spread also can occur. Given the rapidly growing body of knowledge about GBM, the radiologist's role is more important than ever in accurate and timely diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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