Malignant transformation of a gangliocytoma/ganglioglioma into a glioblastoma multiforme: a molecular genetic analysis. Case report

J Neurosurg. 2001 Jul;95(1):138-42. doi: 10.3171/jns.2001.95.1.0138.


A gangliocytoma/ganglioglioma with no atypical or malignant features was subtotally resected from the right temporal lobe of a 16-year-old woman. A second resection was performed 8 years later to treat a locally recurrent lesion with increased cellularity that was diagnosed as a World Health Organization Grade II ganglioglioma on the basis of neuropathological examination. Molecular analysis of the recurrent tumor revealed a TP53 gene mutation, but no amplification of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene. Radiotherapy (60 Gy) was administered after the second resection. The patient returned 1 year later with a second focal recurrence. The specimen obtained during the third resection of tumor exhibited exclusively astrocytic differentiation, cellular pleomorphism with multinucleated cells, high mitotic activity, and endothelial proliferation. Therefore, the tumor was diagnosed to be a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Molecular analysis of tumor DNA from the second recurrent tumor demonstrated the presence of the TP53 mutation, which previously had been observed in the first recurrent tumor, but again no evidence of EGFR amplification. Findings demonstrate that the presence of TP53 mutation in progressed gangliogliomas should be interpreted as a progression-associated mutation rather than a consequence of treatment. This is the first report to indicate that the molecular pathways of gangliocytomas/gangliogliomas progressing to become GBMs may parallel those of diffuse astrocytomas progressing to become GBMs.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Female
  • Ganglioglioma / genetics
  • Ganglioglioma / pathology*
  • Ganglioglioma / surgery
  • Ganglioneuroma / genetics
  • Ganglioneuroma / pathology*
  • Ganglioneuroma / surgery
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology
  • Glioblastoma / genetics
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Glioblastoma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • ErbB Receptors