BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Pilocytic astrocytomas, the most common posterior fossa tumors in children, are characterized by KIAA1549-BRAF fusions and shows excellent 5-year survival rates. Pilocytic astrocytoma with gangliocytic differentiation, a recently defined pilocytic astrocytoma variant that includes glial and neuronal elements similar to a ganglioglioma, may be distinguished from a classic ganglioglioma by molecular, radiologic, and histopathologic features. This study investigated whether imaging could distinguish posterior fossa pilocytic astrocytoma with and without gangliocytic differentiation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Preoperative MRIs (± CTs) of 41 children (age range, 7 months to 15 years; mean age, 7.3 ± 3.7 years; 58.5% male) with pilocytic astrocytoma with gangliocytic differentiation (n=7) or pilocytic astrocytoma (n=34) were evaluated; differences in tumor location, morphology, and minimum relative ADC between tumor types were compared (Wilcoxon rank sum test, Fisher exact test). Histopathology and BRAF fusion/mutation status were reviewed. Associations of progression-free survival with diagnosis, imaging features, and BRAF status were examined by Cox proportional hazards models. RESULTS: Pilocytic astrocytoma with gangliocytic differentiation appeared similar to pilocytic astrocytoma but had lower minimum relative ADC (mean, 1.01± 0.17 compared with 2.01 ± 0.38 for pilocytic astrocytoma; P= .0005) and was more commonly located within midline structures (P = .0034). BRAF status was similar for both groups. Non-Total resection (hazard ratio, 52.64; P= .0002), pilocytic astrocytoma with gangliocytic differentiation diagnosis (hazard ratio, 4.66; P = .0104), and midline involvement (hazard ratio, 3.32; P = .0433) were associated with shorter progression-free survival. CONCLUSIONS: Minimum relative ADC and tumor location may be useful adjuncts to histopathology in differentiating pilocytic astrocytoma with gangliocytic differentiation from pilocytic astrocytoma. Shorter progression-free survival in pilocytic astrocytoma with gangliocytic differentiation is likely due to a propensity for involvement of midline structures and poor resectability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology