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Concept: Ependymoma

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Myxopapillary ependymoma (MPE) is a rare variant of ependymoma which usually occurs in the conus medullaris or the filum terminale. It is usually a single encapsulated lesion.

Concepts: Spinal cord, Cauda equina, Ependymoma, Filum terminale, Conus medullaris

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High-throughput genomic technologies have shed light on the biologic heterogeneity of several pediatric brain tumors. The biology of the four common pediatric brain tumors-namely medulloblastoma; ependymoma; high-grade glioma (HGG), including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma; and low-grade glioma-is highlighted in this CCR Focus article. The discovery that medulloblastoma consists of four different subgroups, namely WNT, SHH, Group 3, and Group 4, each with distinct clinical and molecular features, has affected the treatment of children with medulloblastoma. Prospective studies have documented the efficacy of SMO inhibitors in a subgroup of patients with SHH medulloblastoma. Efforts are ongoing to develop specific therapies for each of the subgroups of medulloblastoma. Similar efforts are being pursued for ependymoma, HGG, and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma where the disease outcome for the latter two tumors has not changed over the past three decades despite several prospective clinical trials. Developing and testing targeted therapies based on this new understanding remains a major challenge to the pediatric neuro-oncology community. The focus of this review is to summarize the rapidly evolving understanding of the common pediatric brain tumors based on genome-wide analysis. These novel insights will add impetus to translating these laboratory-based discoveries to newer therapies for children diagnosed with these tumors. See all articles in this CCR Focus section, “Discoveries, Challenges, and Progress in Primary Brain Tumors.” Clin Cancer Res; 20(22); 5630-40. ©2014 AACR.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Glioma, Brain tumor, Astrocytoma, Neurology, Group theory, Ependymoma

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A spinal cord subependymoma is an uncommon, indolent, benign spinal cord tumor. It is radiologically similar to a spinal cord ependymoma, but surgical findings and outcomes differ. Gross total resection of the tumor is not always feasible. The present study was done to determine the clinical, radiological and pathological characteristics of spinal cord subependymomas.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Anatomical pathology, Ependymoma

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Ependymomas are the commonest type of spinal glioma which represent a group of relatively benign tumours. Myxopapillary ependymoma (MPE) is a common variant found within the distal spinal cord around the conus. These two entities are clearly differentiated on the basis of their characteristic histological and molecular features. Rare variants of MPE’s are described in the literature to have the propensity to metastasise and grow in extraspinal locations despite appearing histologically identical to their more benign relatives. Here, we describe two unusual cases of MPE and utilise DNA methylation analyses to compare their molecular signatures with known molecular subtypes of ependymoma in an attempt to distinguish whether these tumours represent a unique subset of disease.

Concepts: DNA, Medicine, Cancer, Biology, Anatomical pathology, Benign tumor, DNA methylation, Ependymoma

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Overall (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) of patients undergoing spinal ependymoma resection has been frequently reported. Contrarily, OS and PFS of purely intramedullary ependymomas have not been clearly determined yet.

Concepts: Ependymoma

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Myxopapillary ependymomas are intradural tumors which grow from the terminal filum of the spinal cord. Although they are classified as WHO grade I, they sometimes cause cerebrospinal fluid dissemination or local recurrence. In this report, we describe a case in that temozolomide (TMZ) showed remarkable efficacy on a recurrent spinal myxopapillary ependymoma.

Concepts: Spinal cord, Cerebrospinal fluid, Meninges, Ependymoma

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Ependymal tumors are rare CNS tumors and may occur at any age, but their proportion among primary brain tumors is highest in children and young adults. Thus, the level of evidence of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions is higher in the pediatric compared with the adult patient population.The diagnosis and disease staging is performed by craniospinal MRI. Tumor classification is achieved by histological and molecular diagnostic assessment of tissue specimens according to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification 2016. Surgery is the crucial initial treatment in both children and adults. In pediatric patients with intracranial ependymomas of WHO grades II or III, surgery is followed by local radiotherapy regardless of residual tumor volume. In adults, radiotherapy is employed in patients with anaplastic ependymoma WHO grade III, and in case of incomplete resection of WHO grade II ependymoma. Chemotherapy alone is reserved for young children <12 months and for adults with recurrent disease when further surgery and irradiation are no longer feasible. A gross total resection is the mainstay of treatment in spinal ependymomas, and radiotherapy is reserved for incompletely resected tumors. Nine subgroups of ependymal tumors across different anatomical compartments (supratentorial, posterior fossa, spinal) and patient ages have been identified with distinct genetic and epigenetic alterations, and with distinct outcomes. These findings may lead to more precise diagnostic and prognostic assessments, molecular subgroup-adapted therapies, and eventually new recommendations pending validation in prospective studies.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Oncology, Biology, Medical terms, Brain tumor, Physician, Ependymoma

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OBJECTIVE Myxopapillary ependymoma is a benign WHO Grade I tumor most commonly located in the conus-cauda equina region of the spine. Although this tumor is defined by an overall excellent survival, dissemination throughout the whole neuraxis occurs frequently. The current study evaluated the clinical characteristics and significance of myxopapillary ependymoma metastases. METHODS Patients who underwent surgery from 2005 to 2015 for treatment of spinal myxopapillary ependymoma were included in the study. Charts were reviewed for primary tumor symptoms and initial treatment, local recurrence, response to salvage therapy, and presence and behavior of distant metastases. RESULTS Nineteen patients with spinal myxopapillary ependymoma were included in the study (52.6% female). The median age at first diagnosis was 32 years old (range 9-58 years old), and 26.3% were ≤ 18 years old. The median follow-up of all included patients was 48 months (range 6-456 months). Of the primary tumors, 84.2% were located in the lower thoracic or upper lumbar spine, spanning 1-3 levels in 94.7%. All patients underwent surgery for initial treatment: in 78.9% a gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved, with adjuvant radiation therapy (RT) in 20%. Of the 21.2% who underwent a subtotal resection (STR), 75% underwent postoperative RT. Tumor progression was noted in 26.3% of patients after a median 36-month follow-up (range 12-240 months). In 57.9% of patients, distant metastases were found, of which 36.4% were present at initial diagnosis. Further metastases occurred within a median of 20 months (range 2-360 months). Following a diagnosis of metastatic tumor, 72.7% did not show progression and no symptoms were observed during a median follow-up of 36 months (range 6-216 months). Metastases occurred in all parts of the neuroaxis, but were principally localized in the thoracic and sacral spine in 38.9% and 33.3%, respectively; the brain was involved in 11.1%. In 54.5%, more than 1 level was affected. Overall survival was 100% with an excellent clinical and neurological outcome in 78.9% of cases. CONCLUSIONS Metastatic dissemination within the CNS can be observed in many patients with myxopapillary ependymoma. GTR of the primary tumor should be the primary treatment goal, and additional RT is recommended after STR. For distant metastases of myxopapillary ependymoma without clinical manifestation, close clinical and MRI follow-up represents a sufficient strategy because most of the metastases remain asymptomatic and do not show progression over time. Additional resection or irradiation as salvage therapy would be recommended if metastases become symptomatic.

Concepts: Cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Lumbar vertebrae, Prostate cancer, Radiation therapy, Melanoma, Ependymoma

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To investigate the early clinical treatment and prognosis of multi-segment intramedullary cervical ependymoma.

Concepts: Medicine, Spinal cord, Ependymoma