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Semin Diagn Pathol. 2010 May;27(2):136-45.

Oligodendroglial tumors: diagnostic and molecular pathology.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Oligodendroglial tumors, which encompass pure oligodendroglioma and mixed oligoastrocytoma, represent the second most common glioma in adults after glioblastoma. They remain controversial neoplasms in the realm of surgical neuropathology. The early recognition of their more favorable prognosis and responsiveness to treatment when compared with diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas has influenced the pathologic diagnostic interpretation, and resulted in a pervasive interobserver variability. The more recent finding of an increased frequency of 1p/19q deletion in these tumors by cytogenetic analysis, and the association of this molecular abnormality with a better prognosis has greatly impacted the field of neuro-oncology. In this review, we focus on important histopathologic aspects in the evaluation of oligodendroglial tumors, key differential diagnoses, and highlight particular clinical and molecular characteristics, as well as current diagnostic and conceptual controversies.

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