Purpose: Central neurocytomas (CNCs) are rare neuronal tumors that have a favorable prognosis and lower rate of recurrence compared with other intraventricular neoplasms. Although it may be difficult to distinguish CNC on conventional neuroimaging, typical MR spectroscopy (MRS) features have been reported. We describe the MRI and MRS features of CNC.
Materials and methods: Eight patients with CNC were reviewed. Three patients underwent presurgical in vivo single-voxel MRS at short echo time (TE, 35 ms) and multi-voxel MR spectroscopic imaging at long TE (144 ms). The surgically resected tumor specimen of one of these patients was also studied ex vivo using high-resolution magic angle spinning (HRMAS) nuclear magnetic resonance.
Results: All eight tumors were located in the lateral ventricles. In six patients, CNC extended into the third ventricle, and in two patients the tumor showed further contiguous intraventricular dissemination into the fourth ventricle. In all three patients who underwent MRS, a characteristic metabolite peak was detected at 3.55 parts per million (ppm) at both long and short TE. HRMAS confirmed the presence of elevated glycine (Gly) at 3.55 ppm, without increase in the concentration of myo-inositol found at the same chemical shift. Elevated choline (at 3.2 ppm) was also seen in all three patients.
Conclusion: On MRS, CNCs have a typical appearance with a metabolite peak at 3.55 ppm due to increased Gly, and this feature may be helpful in presurgical diagnosis. Although they are rare benign intraventricular tumors, in atypical cases, CNCs can show extensive intraventricular dissemination into the fourth ventricle.