The WHO classification of tumors of the nervous system

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2002 Mar;61(3):215-25; discussion 226-9. doi: 10.1093/jnen/61.3.215.


The new World Health Organization (WHO) classification of nervous system tumors, published in 2000, emerged from a 1999 international consensus conference of neuropathologists. New entities include chordoid glioma of the third ventricle, cerebellar liponeurocytoma, atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor, and perineurioma. Several histological variants were added, including tanycytic ependymoma, large cell medulloblastoma, and rhabdoid meningioma. The WHO grading scheme was updated and, for meningiomas, extensively revised. In recognition of the emerging role of molecular diagnostic approaches to tumor classification, genetic profiles have been emphasized, as in the distinct subtypes of glioblastoma and the already clinically useful 1p and 19q markers for oligodendroglioma and 22q/INI1 for atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors. In accord with the new WHO Blue Book series, the actual classification is accompanied by extensive descriptions and illustrations of clinicopathological characteristics of each tumor type, including molecular genetic features, predictive factors, and separate chapters on inherited tumor syndromes. The 2000 WHO classification of nervous system tumors aims at being used and implemented by the neuro-oncology and biomedical research communities worldwide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / classification*
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • World Health Organization*