Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma: Favorable outcome after complete surgical resection

Maryam Fouladi, Jesse Jenkins, Peter Burger, James Langston, Thomas Merchant, Richard Heideman, Stephen Thompson, Alex Sanford, Larry Kun, Amar Gajjar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To describe the clinical features, histologic characteristics, and management of patients with pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (PXA), we reviewed data on 13 children who had histologically confirmed PXA and were referred to the neuro-oncology service between 1985 and 1999. Neuro-imaging with CT and/or MRI documented the anatomic location, tumor extent, and degree of resection. There were 3 males and 10 females; median age was 12.9 years (range, 8.2-17.2 years). The most frequent presentations included seizures (n = 8) and headache (n = 5). Tumor sites included temporal (n = 5), parietal (n = 3), frontal (n = 1), frontoparietal (n = 1), parieto-occipital (n = 1), and temporoparietal (n = 1) lobes and the spinal cord (n = 1). CT/MRI revealed a cystic component in 6 patients, with cyst wall enhancement in 3 patients. The solid component was uniformly enhancing in 11 patients. Vasogenic edema was present in 9 patients, and calcification was noted in 4 patients. Histopathologic findings included meningeal invasion in 12 patients, calcifications in 4, and necrosis in 2. Mitotic figures (1-12 per high-power field) were seen in 8 patients. Gross total resection was achieved in 8 patients, near total resection in 1, and subtotal resection in 4. Ten patients were alive with a median follow-up of 41 months at this writing. Two patients died of progressive disease, and 1 died of an unrelated cause. In conclusion, pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma is a rare neoplasm in childhood, commonly presenting with seizures. Gross total resection without adjuvant therapy provides prolonged disease control, as seen in 6 of 7 patients (85%) in our series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Oncology


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