Brainstem astroblastoma: a case report and review of the literature

Christina Notarianni, Michelle Akin, Marjorie Fowler, Anil Nanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Background: Astroblastoma is a rare glial tumor that occurs mainly in the cerebral hemispheres of young adults. Our purpose in writing this article is to report one case of astroblastoma located within the medulla and review the literature on this infrequent tumor. Methods: One case of astroblastoma was retrospectively reviewed. Presenting complaints, radiographic images, operative procedure, and histopathologic findings were recorded. Results: Contrast-enhanced MRI scan revealed a well-defined, well-circumscribed, contrast-enhanced cystic lesion approximately 16 mm in diameter within the medulla oblongata. Light microscopy demonstrated a papillary neoplasm composed of mildly pleomorphic cells with indistinct cytoplasmic borders. The nuclei were generally round to oval in shape. Occasional rosettes of tumor cells were seen around blood vessels. Mitoses were not seen within the submitted specimen. One small area of necrosis was present. The tumor exhibited thickened but not hyalinized blood vessel walls. The tumor cells exhibited strong staining for EMA and vimentin throughout the tissue section. Neurofilament, CAM 5.2, and CK immunostains were negative, except for rare positive staining of CK between cells and within rare tumor cells. Ki-67 was positive in small numbers of tumor nuclei, with an overall reactivity of 7%. By electron microscopy, the tumor nuclei had irregularly round to oval nuclei with moderate clumping of the chromatin, especially at the nuclear margins. Conclusions: The combination of the radiologic and histopathologic characteristics of this tumor is necessary for making the diagnosis of astroblastoma. This article serves to summarize these characteristics as well as to report of an unusual location for this mainly hemispheric tumor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-205
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Astroblastoma
  • Brainstem
  • Tumor

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