Pediatric neuroblastic brain tumors containing abundant neuropil and true rosettes

Charles G. Eberhart*, Daniel J. Brat, Kenneth J. Cohen, Peter C. Burger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


We have encountered a series of seven unusual neuroblastic pediatric central nervous system (CNS) neoplasms with a unique constellation of histologic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural features. The tumors presented in five girls and two boys, ages 1 to 3 years. In six cases the lesions involved the frontoparietal region, in one case the tectal plate. The tumors consisted of small to medium-sized, round to oval, hyperchromatic cells with poorly defined cytoplasmic borders. Cells were found in clusters and cords set in a paucicellular fibrillar neuropil matrix. Distinctive, virtually anuclear regions of neuropil were scattered throughout the lesions. True rosettes with well-formed central lumens often filled with granular debris were present, along with perivascular pseudorosettes and occasional Homer-Wright rosettes. Mitoses and apoptosis were frequent, but large regions of confluent necrosis were absent. Immunohistochemically, the neuropil-like areas as well as the perinuclear cytoplasm of many embryonal tumor cells were positive for synaptophysin and neurofilament protein. Ultrastructurally, the tumor cells showed microtubule-containing neuronal processes, some with neurosecretory granules. While the lesions were largely glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) negative, there was focal GFAP positivity consistent with divergent differentiation in one case. The clinical outcome was poor, with five patients dead from their disease 5 to 14 months after initial presentation and one patient with recurrent disease 7 months after resection and chemotherapy. The final patient is alive without recurrent disease 30 months after initial presentation. These lesions present distinctive histological features within the group of primitive neuroectodermal tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-352
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric and Developmental Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2000


  • Brain neoplasms
  • Pediatric tumors
  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumors
  • Rosette

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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