Ependymomas: A clinicopathologic study

Charles E. Rawlings, Felice Giangaspero, Peter C. Burger, Dennis E. Bullard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Since 1924, when ependymomas were first classified as a distinctive glial neoplasm by Bailey, much has been published concerning these tumors, but there are important points of interest that are still not clear. In order to study more fully the clinical and pathologic characteristics of the ependymoma, we identified 62 patients with histologically proven neoplasms. Twenty-two were supratentorial, 21 were infratentorial, and 19 were intramedullary spinal cord tumors. These groups had mean ages of 17, 7, and 41 years, respectively, at the time of first symptoms. The presenting and accompanying symptoms were related to location and included headaches, nausea, visual changes, hemiparesis, and neck, back, and radicular pain. Neurological signs included papilledema, nystagmus, gait disturbance, cranial nerve palsies, altered mental status, paraparesis, and sensory dysfunction. Radiologic modalities of particular importance included computed tomography and myelography. Surgery and radiation therapy were the primary treatment modalities with median survival times from first symptoms being 92, 36, and 117 months for the above groups, respectively. Based on computer-generated survival curves, several characteristics significantly affected survival. These included tumor site, age, and neuraxis metastases. In patients with supratentorial tumors, cranial nerve palsies, microcystic changes, and mitotic figures were important, while in patients with infratentorial tumors, widened sutures, increased head circumference, age, epithelial features, and subependymal features significantly affected survival. Patients who had complete gross resection of a spinal cord tumor had no recurrences or mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalSurgical neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1988


  • Brain tumor
  • Ependymoma
  • Infratentorial brain tumor
  • Intramedullary spinal cord tumor
  • Supratentorial brain tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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