Pathology and molecular genetics of oligodendroglial tumors

J Mol Med (Berl). 2004 Oct;82(10):638-55. doi: 10.1007/s00109-004-0565-9.


Oligodendroglial gliomas are second only to astrocytic gliomas in frequency. The lack of stringent diagnostic criteria cause high interobserver variation in regard to classification and grading of these tumors. Previous studies have described oligodendrogliomas with features that overlap with those of neurocytic tumors, thus further complicating diagnostic decisions. The increasing need for standardized diagnostic criteria in this subset of gliomas is emphasized by the benefit of adjuvant therapies in patients with anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. Characteristic chromosomal aberrations have been successfully determined for oligodendroglial tumors in recent years. In contrast to astrocytomas, however, no genes in the affected regions have been clearly linked to their pathogenesis. However, the molecular findings promise to be helpful for diagnostic and therapeutic decisions. This review compiles clinical, pathological, and molecular genetic findings on WHO grades II and III oligodendrogliomas and oligoastrocytomas.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Astrocytoma / genetics
  • Astrocytoma / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 1
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 19
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Biology*
  • Oligodendroglioma / drug therapy
  • Oligodendroglioma / genetics*
  • Oligodendroglioma / pathology*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Prognosis