Tanycytic Ependymal Tumors

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April 13, 2015

Tanycytic Ependymal Tumors

Ependymomas are tumors arising from ependymal cells of the ventricles or spinal canal. In children, they most often arise from an infrantentorial site; however, in adults they are more likely to arise in the spinal cord, and as such are a rare cause of back pain refractory to conservative measures (1). Clinical presentation is referable to the level of the lesion. Several subtypes of ependymoma exist, including tanycytic ependymoma arising from primitive ependymoglial cells (2). Diagnosis of ependymoma is based upon neuroimaging characteristics and ultimately, histology. However, tanyctic ependymoma may resemble astrocytomas and schwannomas radiographically and pathologically, making diagnosis difficult (2). The prognosis is quite favorable with total resection and when indicated adjuvant radiation therapy.


  1. McGuire CS, Sainani KL, Fisher PG. Incidence patterns for ependymoma: a surveillance, epidemiology, and end results study. J Neurosurg 2009; 110:725-729.
  2. Hiroko I, Nakamura, M, Funao, H, et al. A rare case of spinal dumbbell tanycytic ependymoma. Spine 2011; 36: E612-614.
  3. Jellema K, Tijssen CC, van Rooij WJJ, et al. Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas: Long-term follow-up of 44 treated patients. Neurology 2004; 62:1839-1841.

Submitted by Dr. Adam Numis.

Dr. Numis is a member of the Residents & Fellows Section of Neurology.

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