Malignant supratentorial glial-neuronal neoplasms: Report of two cases and review of the literature

Roger E. McLendon, Rex C. Bentley, Joseph E. Parisi, Robert D. Tien, John C. Hairrison, Nancy J. Tarbell, Amy L. Billitt, Richard J. Gualtieri, Henry S. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective. - Malignant neoplasms exhibiting mixed populations of neuronal and glial cells occurring in the cerebral hemispheres of young adults and children are well recognized, but rare. A confusing array of diagnostic terms has arisen. We describe two patients with such tumors and review the literature concerning these interesting cases. Patients. - A 21- year-old man and a 5-year-old girl presented with large, cystic, intracerebral lesions on magnetic resonance images, which proved to be composite neoplasms exhibiting malignant neurons and astrocytes. Results. - The 21-year-old man had a frontal lobe mass with enhancing and nonenhancing regions, which corresponded to cerebral neuroblastoma and anaplastic astrocytoma, respectively. The presence of occasional microtubules and rare primitive presynaptic processes, accompanied by antisynaptophysin immunoreactivity, established the neuronal nature of the cells in the enhancing region. The nonenhancing region was composed of a moderately cellular neoplasm of fibrillar astrocytes that were mitotically active. The 5-year-old girl presented with a left parietal lobe neoplasm, which histologically was composed of lobular proliferations of neuroblasts and glia. The neuroblastic populations exhibited evidence of maturation with small anaplastic cells, spindle-shaped cells, and large dysmorphic ganglion cells. The glial tumor showed both well-differentiated fibrillary astrocytes with microcysts and anaplastic populations with central necrosis and pseudopalisading. Conclusions. - Present classification systems devised to describe mixed neuronal and glial tumors do not adequately encompass the diversity of morphologies presented by these two cases. We conclude that the terms cerebral neuroblastoma-anaplastic astrocytoma for case 1 and cerebral ganglioneuroblastoma-glioblastoma for case 2 are preferred because they convey useful clinical information by reflecting concepts already encompassed by the World Health Organization's classification system of tumors of the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-492
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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