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Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology:
Regular Article

Clinical Utility of Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) in Morphologically Ambiguous Gliomas with Hybrid Oligodendroglial/Astrocytic Features

FULLER, CHRISTINE E. MD; SCHMIDT, ROBERT E. MD, PHD; ROTH, KEVIN A. MD, PHD; BURGER, PETER C. MD; SCHEITHAUER, BERND W. MD; BANERJEE, RUMA; TRINKAUS, KATHRYN; LYTLE, RICHARD MD; PERRY, ARIE MD

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Abstract

Gliomas with hybrid oligodendroglial/astrocytic features are diagnostically problematic, and our ability to predict tumor behavior is limited. Some likely represent intermingled mixed oligoastrocytomas (MOAs), though precise diagnostic criteria and specific markers for this lesion are lacking. From the files at Washington University (1987–2000), 155 “ambiguous” glioma/intermingled MOA candidates were independently classified and graded by 5 neuropathologists, with consensus-derived pure oligodendrogliomas and astrocytomas excluded from further study. The 90 remaining cases (grades II = 29, III = 44, IV = 17) were analyzed by FISH on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections. Detectable deletions included combined 1p/19q (9%), solitary 19q (22%), PTEN/DMBT1 (26%), and p16 (32%). EGFR amplification was found in 11%. Patients were followed until death (47%) or a median of 3.3 years. Similar to prior glioma series, patient age (p < 0.0001) and tumor grade (p < 0.0001) were strongly associated with survival times. EGFR amplification (p = 0.0007) and deletions of PTEN/DMBT1 (p = 0.016) or p16 (p = 0.014), either individually or as a group (p = 0.04), portended a shorter median survival compared with tumors lacking these alterations. We conclude that 1) distinct genetic subsets are identifiable by FISH in morphologically ambiguous gliomas, and 2) both histological grading and molecular analysis yield prognostically useful information.

© 2003 American Association of Neuropathologists, Inc

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