Primary sarcomas of the brain and spinal cord: A study of 18 cases

Andre M. Oliveira, Bernd W. Scheithauer, Diva R. Salomao, Joseph E. Parisi, Peter C. Burger, Antonio G. Nascimento

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30 Scopus citations


Primary sarcomas of the central nervous system are exceedingly rare. We reviewed the clinicopathologic features of 18 primary central nervous system sarcomas diagnosed from 1959 through 1999. Median age at diagnosis of the nine female and nine male patients was 28 years (range 3-63 years). Median tumor size was 4 cm (range 1.3-8 cm). Fifteen tumors arose in the cerebrum (83%), two in the cerebellum, and one in the spinal cord. Histopathologically, the most common tumor types included fibrosarcoma (six), malignant fibrous histiocytoma (five), and undifferentiated sarcoma (three). Immunohistochemical and ultrastructural studies supported the histologic diagnosis in 17 and six cases, respectively. All patients had subtotal to gross total tumor resection; 16 also received radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. Twelve tumors (67%) were high-grade. Follow-up was obtained in all instances (median 2.3 years). Nine patients died of the disease, eight with high-grade tumors. Survival at 5 years for patients with high-grade tumors was 28% compared with 83% for those with low-grade neoplasms (p = 0.03). Primary central nervous system sarcomas most often affect young and middle-aged adults. Most involve the cerebrum and show fibrous, "fibrohistiocytic," or no specific differentiation. The prognosis for high-grade sarcomas seems better than that for glioblastoma multiforme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1056-1063
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 5 2002


  • Brain
  • Central nervous system
  • Prognosis
  • Sarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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