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Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Laurence E. Becker, Venita Jay, Derek C. Armstrong and James M. Drake

✓ Primary cerebellar glioblastomas multiforme are exceedingly rare in children. The authors therefore retrospectively characterized the clinical behavior and pathological features of these tumors. A review of the database at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada revealed four patients with cerebellar tumors that displayed significant pleomorphism, hypercellularity, mitoses, and necrosis with pseudopalisading. The authors performed a detailed clinical, radiological, histological, and immunohistochemical analysis of the tumors in these four children (three boys and one girl; average age at presentation 7 years; range 21 months–15 years). Magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography most commonly revealed a large lesion with minimal edema, inhomogeneous contrast enhancement, and a discrete border. Tumor resection was subtotal in one patient and gross total in three patients. Immunostaining of the tumor cells with antisera to glial fibrillary acidic protein and vimentin was positive in varying degrees. Initial adjuvant therapy consisted of local radiation only (one patient), chemotherapy only (one patient), and radiation and chemotherapy (one patient). One patient received no adjuvant therapy. Tumor recurrence was documented in all patients: two local recurrences (at 3.5 and 7 months), one spinal recurrence (at 14 months), and one local recurrence with ventricular and spinal spread (at 8 months). Ultimately, three of the four patients developed leptomeningeal tumor spread. Patient follow up ranged from 8 to 17 months (mean 12.5 months). Three patients were dead at last follow up with a mean survival of 15 months.

The prognosis for patients with cerebellar glioblastomas is extremely poor, and the tumor has a tendency for cerebrospinal fluid dissemination. The optimal management of patients harboring of these difficult-to-treat tumors, including the role of craniospinal radiation and chemotherapy, has not yet been achieved.

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Carlos G. Carlotti Jr., Venita Jay and James T. Rutka

✓ The case of a newborn infant with a large midline mass in the occipital region is presented. Skull x-ray films demonstrated multiple radiolucent defects in the occipital bone. A computerized tomography scan revealed an extracranial mass lesion with marked contrast enhancement. A magnetic resonance image demonstrated that the venous drainage of the lesion passed through the occipital bone into the dural venous sinuses. The anatomy of the hindbrain was normal. The neonate was treated by complete surgical removal of the mass. The histopathological diagnosis was infantile hemangioendothelioma, a tumor commonly found in the liver but rarely in this location. The classification, histopathological characteristics, imaging studies, and treatment of this tumor are discussed.

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Jane Bayani, Maria Zielenska, Paula Marrano, Yim Kwan Ng, Michael D. Taylor, Venita Jay, James T. Rutka and Jeremy A. Squire

Object. Medulloblastomas and related primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs) of the central nervous system are malignant, invasive embryonal tumors with predominantly neuronal differentiation that comprise 20% of pediatric brain tumors. Cytogenetic analysis has shown that alterations in chromosome 17, particularly the loss of 17p and the formation of isochromosome 17q, as well as the gain of chromosome 7 are the most common changes among this group of tumors. Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) studies have largely confirmed these cytogenetic findings and have also identified novel regions of gain, loss, and amplification. The advent of more sophisticated multicolored fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) procedures such as spectral karyotyping (SKY) now permits complete recognition of all aberrations including extremely complex rearrangements. The authors report a retrospective analysis of 19 medulloblastoma and five PNET cases studied using combinations of classic banding analysis, FISH, CGH, and SKY to examine comprehensively the chromosomal aberrations present in this tumor group and to attempt to identify common structural rearrangement(s).

Methods. The CGH data demonstrate gains of chromosomes 17q and 7 in 60% of the tumors studied, which confirms data reported in the current literature. However, the authors have also combined the results of all three molecular cytogenetic assays (Giemsa banding, CGH, and SKY) to reveal the frequency of chromosomal rearrangement (gained, lost, or involved in structural rearrangement).

Conclusions. The combined results indicate that chromosomes 7 and 17 are the most frequently rearranged chromosomes (10.1% and 8.9%, respectively, in all rearrangements detected). Furthermore, chromosomes 3 (7.8%), 14 (7%), 10 (6.7%), and 22 (6.5%) were also found to be frequently rearranged, followed by chromosomes 6 (6.5%), 13 (6.2%), and 18 (6.2%). Eight (33%) of 24 tumors exhibited high-level gains or gene amplification. Amplification of MYCN was identified in four tumors, whereas amplification of MYCC was identified in one tumor. One tumor exhibited a high-level gain of chromosome 9p. Additionally, desmoplastic medulloblastomas and large-cell medulloblastomas exhibited higher karyotype heterogeneity, amplification, and aneusomy than classic medulloblastomas.

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Robert J. B. Macaulay, Venita Jay, Harold J. Hoffman and Laurence E. Becker

✓ Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma is a recently characterized neoplasm with a favorable prognosis despite aggressive histological features. The authors report a case of pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma that recurred 4 years after complete gross resection. The original tumor exhibited histological features characteristic of this neoplasm, but up to 4 mitoses/10 high-power fields were present focally. The recurrent tumor contained small foci of classical pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma, but consisted predominantly of glioblastoma multiforme. Transitional zones contained nests of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-immunopositive cells surrounded by delicate collagenous and reticulin-rich septa. Electron microscopy of the transitional zone showed continuous basal lamina investing cells containing bundles of intermediate filaments. These were GFAP-positive by immunogold electron microscopy, confirming the astrocytic nature of pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma. This example illustrates the capacity of this tumor to evolve into glioblastoma. The indolent clinical behavior of most pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas is evident from a literature review, which confirms the prolonged survival of many patients after onset of symptoms. Completeness of excision, subjectively assessed at surgery, did not influence the risk of recurrence or survival up to 10 years after initial resection. Postoperative radiotherapy did not improve survival, but may reduce the probability of recurrence; more studies are needed to corroborate this finding.

The data compiled herein support the designation of pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma as a distinct astrocytic neoplasm with a favorable prognosis. An increased mitotic rate has not previously been correlated with a worse outcome, and should not be used to exclude this diagnosis. However, anaplastic transformation of pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma confers a much worse prognosis, and this case suggests that increased mitotic activity may be a negative prognostic indicator since it may herald subsequent anaplastic transformation.

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Venita Jay, Vern Edwards, Eelco Hoving, James Rutka, Laurence Becker, Maria Zielenska and Ikuko Teshima

✓ The results of cytogenetic and molecular genetic analysis of a central neurocytoma are presented. Central neurocytomas are intriguing neoplasms that exhibit primarily neuronal, but also glial characteristics, which indicate an origin from a pluripotential neuroglial precursor. The authors describe an intraventricular neurocytoma in an 11-year-old boy that showed anaplastic features with widespread necrosis and mitoses, as well as extensive calcification and foci that exhibited marked neuronal differentiation with clusters of ganglion cells. Immunohistochemical examination showed prominent synaptophysin and neurofilament positivity and focal glial fibrillary acidic protein positivity. Electron microscopy revealed abundant neuritic processes with microtubules and dense core granules as well as mature ganglion cells. Flow cytometry studies revealed increased S (7.8%) and G2M (9.7%) phase components. Molecular and cytogenetic studies were undertaken to assess whether there were similarities to two other tumor types that exhibit neuronal differentiation, the neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma. Polymerase chain reaction and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis revealed no evidence of amplification of the MYCN oncogene or chromosome 1p deletion, which are common in neuroblastomas. Chromosomal analysis by G banding revealed a complex karyotype, with counts in the near-diploidy range (45–48). Two chromosomes 1 appeared normal on G banding and FISH analysis, with p58 signals present on the distal p arm of both chromosomes 1; however, three additional copies of distal 1q were present in rearrangements with 4 and 7. Although the histological findings indicate a kinship to the neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma, the central neurocytoma appears to have a different karyotypic profile, although more cases need to be assessed using molecular genetic analysis.

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Pathology of temporal lobectomy for refractory seizures in children

Review of 20 cases including some unique malformative lesions

Venita Jay, Laurence E. Becker, Hiroshi Otsubo, Paul A. Hwang, Harold J. Hoffman and Derek Harwood-Nash

✓ Significant pathological abnormalities were encountered in a series of 20 temporal lobectomies in children with intractable complex partial seizures. In particular, “dual pathology” (mesial temporal sclerosis with other lesions) was found rather than mesial temporal sclerosis as the only lesion. Unusual pathological findings included capillary penetration of neurons in a neuronal heterotopia in one patient, and foci of extensive cortical disorganization in some cases of mixed tumors and gangliogliomas. A high proportion of neuronal migration disorders was also seen with overlapping pathological features between cortical dysplasia and tuberous sclerosis. In this correlative clinical, radiological, electroencephalographic, and pathological study, some of the pathological lesions in children did not fit the classical categories of neoplasia and malformation and transitional forms were rarely encountered.

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Venita Jay, Laurence E. Becker, Hiroshi Otsubo, Paul Hwang, Harold J. Hoffman and Derek C. Armstrong

✓ Unusual pathological findings were encountered in a temporal lobectomy specimen from a 9-year-old boy with intractable complex partial seizures. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an enlarged left temporal lobe, with diffuse high signal intensity over the cortex and poor gray-white differentiation on T2-weighted imaging; single-photon emission computerized tomography showed decreased blood flow. Active epileptiform discharges were identified in the left temporal lobe with focal slow waves and generalized epileptiform paroxysms. Pathologically, the cortex revealed changes of focal cortical dysplasia with extensive disorganization of neuronal morphology, layering, and orientation as well as focal polymicrogyria. The cortical-white matter junction was indistinct with extensive neuronal heterotopias in the white matter. Large pale balloon cells akin to those seen in tuberous sclerosis were found scattered within the cortex and white matter. The most striking finding was that of a heterotopic nodule in the white matter, which revealed abnormal neurons with penetration of cell bodies by capillaries. Ultrastructurally, there were no degenerative changes in these neurons, and this unusual phenomenon is attributed to a developmental disturbance affecting neuronal, glial, and vascular elements.