Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan
Background: Central neurocytomas are rare neuronal neoplasms with a favorable prognosis. They are typically located in the lateral ventricles of the brain and mostly histologically correspond to WHO grade II with a Mib 1 labelling index of <2%. Similar tumors located in the cerebral hemispheres and spinal cord, for example, are called "extraventricular neurocytomas". A few tumors histologically show atypia, mitoses, vascular proliferation and/or necrosis and a Mib 1 index >2 % and are designated as "atypical neurocytomas. Aim: The aim of our study was to describe the common as well as unusual morphologic features and the role of various immunohistochemical stains in the diagnosis of these rare tumors. Materials and Methods: We retrieved and reviewed 35 cases diagnosed between 2001 and 2015. Results: Sixty percent of patients were males, and the mean age was 26 years. 31 cases (88.6%) were intraventricular and 4(11.4%) were extraventricular. Histologically, 6 cases (17.1%) were compatible with "atypical neurocytomas". All cases showed the classic morphology comprising nests and sheets of uniform, round cells with uniform round to oval nuclei with finely speckled chromatin and perinuclear cytoplasmic clearing (halos). All cases also showed delicate, fibrillary, neuropil-like matrices. Other common histologic features included capillary-sized blood vessels in a branching pattern in 57.1%, foci of calcification in 34.3% and perivascular pseudorosettes in 20%. Rare findings included Homer- Wright or true rosettes in 8.6% and ganglioid cells in 2.9%. Synaptophysin was the most consistent and valuable marker, being positive in almost all cases. GFAP positivity in tumor cells was seen in 25.7% of cases. Follow up was available in 13 patients. Of these 9 had histologically typical and 4 had atypical tumors. Only 1 (with an atypical neurocytoma) died, probably due to complications of surgery within one month, while 12 (including 3 with atypical neurocytomas) remained alive. Recurrence developed in 1 of these 12 patients (histologically consistent with typical morphology) almost 9 years after surgery. Only 4 patients, including 2 with atypical tumors, received postoperative radiotherapy, all with surgery in 2010 or later. Overall, prognosis was excellent with prolonged, recurrence free survival and most patients, even without receiving radiation therapy, were alive and well for many years, even a decade or more after surgery, without developing any recurrence, indicating the benign nature of these neoplasms.