Spindle-cell glioblastoma or gliosarcoma?

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 1991 Jun;17(3):177-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.1991.tb00713.x.


'Gliosarcomas' have long been considered to be mixed gliomas and sarcomas. The present study failed to define criteria which clearly delineate 'gliosarcomas' from glioblastoma multiforme and suggests that 'gliosarcomas' should be considered as spindle cell glioblastomas. A total of six cases originally diagnosed as 'gliosarcomas' were compared with four cases of glioblastoma multiforme. No clinical or prognostic features were defined which would clearly separate 'gliosarcomas' from glioblastoma multiforme. Macroscopically, biopsies from 'gliosarcomas' ranged from firm, apparently well-circumscribed tumours to poorly circumscribed lesions with a soft consistency resembling glioblastoma multiforme. Histology revealed a continuous spectrum in which 'gliosarcomas' with large reticulin-rich areas of spindle cells merged with typical glioblastomas containing only small islands of spindle cells and reticulin staining. Immunocytochemistry for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP); S100 protein and alpha-smooth muscle actin (ASMA) showed that the majority of cells in reticulin-poor areas of 'gliosarcoma' and glioblastomas expressed S100 protein and GFAP; many expressed ASMA and some expressed both GFAP and ASMA. Spindle cells in reticulin-rich areas of 'gliosarcomas' and glioblastomas most frequently expressed ASMA but many cells also expressed S100 protein and GFAP; some cells expressed both GFAP and ASMA. The results of this study and a review of the literature suggests that there is a clinical, radiological and pathological continuum with glioblastoma and 'gliosarcoma' at different ends of the spectrum. It is suggested, therefore, that most, if not all, 'gliosarcomas' be redesignated as spindle cell glioblastomas and not be considered as a mixture of glioma and sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Actins / analysis
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / analysis
  • Glioblastoma / chemistry*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Glioma / chemistry*
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • S100 Proteins / analysis


  • Actins
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • S100 Proteins