Object: Oligodendrogliomas are rare primary brain tumors. They comprise approximately 5 to 33% of all glial tumors but differ from astrocytomas by being associated with a more favorable prognosis, making their correct identification important. Allelic loss of chromosome arms 1p and 19q is found in a substantial subpopulation of tumors with an oligodendroglioma phenotype. Anaplastic oligodendrogliomas with allelic loss of 1p have been associated with chemosensitivity and a longer patient survival period.
Methods: Oligodendroglial neoplasms were studied using fluorescence in situ hybridization of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue specimens; reference and target probe sets were used to map the telomeric regions of 1p and 19q. The results were correlated with the clinical characteristics of patients treated at our institution between 1993 and 2003. Data obtained in 96 patients were analyzed. This included 63 patients (65.6%) with World Health Organization (WHO) Grade II oligodendroglioma, 22 (23%) with Grade III oligodendroglioma, and 11 (11.4%) with mixed oligoastrocytoma. Analysis of 1p in patients with pure oligodendroglioma revealed a loss of 1p in 42 patients (49.4%). In 46 of these patients 19q was lost and in 70 (82.3%) there was concordance for combined loss or retention of both 1p and 19q (p < 0.0001). Patients with oligodendroglioma in whom a loss of 1p was present fared significantly better, and this outcome was unrelated to the treatment modality or WHO grade, compared with patients in whom 1p was intact (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: To the authors' knowledge, this study includes the largest published series of WHO Grade II oligodendroglioma and 1p analysis. The results suggest that the association between long-term survival and 1p loss in oligodendroglioma is unrelated to treatment. The authors of further prospective studies may better determine the true value of the allelic loss of 1p and its implication for clinical decision making.