Pilocytic Astrocytomas: Well-Demarcated Magnetic Resonance Appearance Despite Frequent Infiltration Histologically

Kevin J. Coakley, John Huston, Bernd W. Scheithauer, Glenn Forbes, Patrick J. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


To determine the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics of pilocytic astro-cytomas and to correlate them with the histopathologic findings. MRI examinations and histopathologic findings in 56 patients with pilocytic astrocytomas were retrospectively reviewed. In 38 patients, findings on MRI were compared with those on computed tomography. The tumors occurred at all levels of the central nervous system, including the spinal cord. The intracranial tumors were periventricular (73%) or periaqueductal (9%). All tumors were typical pilocytic astrocytomas and were grade 1 on the basis of the World Health Organization classification. At operation, they were often circumscribed and cystic. Radiologically, the tumors were well demarcated (96%), had benign morphologic features, and almost always showed enhancement (94 %). MRI of pilocytic astrocytomas typically demonstrated a relatively large, sharply demarcated periventricular mass with pronounced contrast enhancement but minimal or no associated edema. Often, the tumors were cystic on MRI. Despite the well-demarcated appearance grossly and on MRI, pathologic review showed that many of these tumors (64%) infiltrated the surrounding parenchyma, par­ticularly the white matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-751
Number of pages5
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1995


  • CECT
  • CT
  • MRI
  • com­puted tomographic
  • contrast-enhanced computed tomography
  • magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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