CNS tumor
Astrocytic tumors

Author: Eman Abdelzaher, M.D., Ph.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 7 July 2017, last major update March 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Astrocytic tumors [title]

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Cite this page: Astrocytoma - general. website. Accessed August 19th, 2017.
Definition / general
  • Most fibrillar of CNS tumors; other fibrillar tumors are tanycytic ependymoma and subependymoma
  • Low grade astrocytomas resemble gliosis
  • Affect entire CNS
  • Usually young adults
  • Most common primary brain tumor in children
  • Indicate grading system used
  • Brainstem: 20% of primary brain tumors age 20 years and less are astrocytomas; 50% progress to glioblastoma at autopsy
  • Astrocytic tumors include:
    • Pilocytic astrocytoma
      • Pilomyxoid astrocytoma
    • Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma
    • Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma
    • Diffuse astrocytoma
      • Fibrillary astrocytoma
      • Gemistocytic astrocytoma
      • Protoplasmic astrocytoma
    • Anaplastic astrocytoma
    • Glioblastoma
      • Giant cell glioblastoma
      • Gliosarcoma
    • Gliomatosis cerebri
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Mass effect

Brainstem glioma

Infiltrative margin

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Hypercellular; nuclei are angular and indent each other; infiltrative margins; often microcystic degeneration (easier to recognize on nonfrozen tissue; on frozen section, microcysts contain protein)
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Hypercellular tumor
with infiltrative margin
vs. normal brain

Positive stains