Background and Purpose:
Pilomyxoid astrocytomas (PMAs) have been described only recently. They appear as low-grade tumors sharing imaging features similar to pilocytic astrocytomas (PAs). However, pilomyxoid astrocytomas have different histological features and behave more aggressively than PAs. We present the imaging and proton spectroscopic (magnetic resonance spectroscopy; MRS) findings in 3 patients with PMA and compare them with those of PA arising in other sites.
Three patients who later proved to harbor PMA were studied with MR imaging and multivolume MRS. We analyzed the imaging findings, with attention to location, size, signal intensities, pattern of enhancement, and edema. In addition, we analyzed the MRS, with attention to the peaks of choline (Cho), creatine (Cr), N-acetyl aspartate, lipids, lactate, and myoinositol, and ratios between these metabolites. We compared the MRS studies of PMA with those of PA located in the hypothalamus and brain stem.
In 2 patients, the PMAs were located in the chiasmatic-hypothalamic and third-ventricular-hypothalamic regions, showing solid enhancement, high T2 signal intensity, and hydrocephalus. One PMA was found in the right parietal lobe showing a well-defined mass without enhancement and high T2 signal intensity. The 2 PMAs showed high Cho/Cr ratios in peritumoral regions at long echo time in comparison with PA. A third PMA showed slight elevation of Cho/Cr ratio in peritumoral regions and no elevation of Cho/Cr ratios within the mass when compared with a PA. Short echo time MRS obtained in 2 PMAs showed low myoinositol/Cr ratios in tumoral regions in comparison with PA.
Our 2 PMAs showed imaging features similar to those described in the literature. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy showed elevated Cho/Cr outside their enhancing margins, which may be related to their more aggressive behavior when compared with PA. The third PMA was different to those previously reported in the literature because it was hemispheric rather than hypothalamic in location in addition to having low intratumoral ratios of Cho/Cr.