Epithelioid ependymoma: A new variant of ependymoma: Report of three cases

George M. Kleinman, David Zagzag, Douglas C. Miller, S. Ather Enam, Manfred Westphal, Gianpaolo Pizzolatto, Nicolas De Tribolet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To describe the pathological features of three very similar and unusual primary central nervous system tumors that are not readily recognized as conventional ependymomas but which, by ultrastructural examination, have an ependymomatous character. METHODS: Three distinctive tumors were found in a review of our files for cases of ependymoma. In each case, hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections were reviewed, and immunostains for epithelial membrane antigen, cytokeratin, vimentin, and glial fibrillary acidic protein were performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections. Electron microscopy was performed in each case. RESULTS: The tumors had a diffuse myxoid background, often containing tightly clustered cells that mimicked multinucleated giant cells, but lacking perivascular pseudorosettes or central lumen rosettes. Glial fibrillary acidic protein and vimentin immunostains did not reveal perivascular processes. Epithelial membrane antigen immunostains showed a dot-like cytoplasmic immunoreactivity in some cell clusters in two of the three cases. Cytokeratin was negative in all three cases. However, ultrastructurally, the cells of each tumor had extensive surface microvilli; the giant cell-like clusters had cells with extensive close appositions, some junctions, and, in two cases, lumina with microvilli. Two of the patients were adults (both with temporal lobe tumors), and one patient was 13 years old and had a cervical spinal cord intramedullary tumor. Each tumor was sharply circumscribed from adjacent central nervous system tissue but was not encapsulated. One of the cases in an adult was mitotically highly active; this tumor recurred locally 4 years after initial gross total excision. CONCLUSION: These tumors are unusual variants of ependymoma. This pattern of ependymoma is sufficiently distinctive to be recognized in hematoxylin and eosin stains once the architecture of the epithelioid clusters is appreciated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-748
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2003


  • Ependymoma
  • Epithelial membrane antigen
  • Glioma


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