Giant cell ependymoma-report of three cases and review of the literature

Jian Yi Li, Jose I. Lopez, Suzanne Z. Powell, Stephen W. Coons, Gregory N. Fuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Ependymomas constitute the most common type of primary spinal cord tumors, and are subclassified as myxopapillary ependymoma, classic ependymoma, and anaplastic ependymoma. Ependymomas can be further subclassified based on morphologic phenotype: cellular, papillary, tanycytic, clear cell, pigmented and epithelioid. Giant cell ependymoma (GCE), a rare variant, has recently been described. Reported cases have exhibited a wide anatomic distribution, including spinal cord, cerebrum and cerebellum. We report here three cases of GCE, arising from cerebrum in a 5-year-old girl, spinal cord in a 34-year-old female and cerebellum in an 86-year-old female respectively. Histologically those cases showed prominent pleomorphic giant cells with focal perivascular pseudorosettes in all cases. Tumor cells were immunopositive for GFAP and EMA. Only the first case was qualified for anaplastic ependymoma. No recurrence was noted in these three cases after 57, 46 and 6 months of follow-up respectively. By reviewing the literature, GCEs arising from spinal cord and cerebellum tended to have low-grade morphology while supratentorially located GCEs tended to have anaplastic features. GCEs were preferentially located in extraventricular regions. Anaplastic GCEs in adult population seemed to pursue a more aggressive behavior. Gross total resection should still be the main treatment for GCEs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-462
Number of pages5
JournalInternational journal of clinical and experimental pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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