Clinicopathological features and global genomic copy number alterations of pilomyxoid astrocytoma in the hypothalamus/optic pathway: comparative analysis with pilocytic astrocytoma using array-based comparative genomic hybridization

Mod Pathol. 2008 Nov;21(11):1345-56. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2008.88. Epub 2008 Jul 11.


Pilomyxoid astrocytoma is a recently identified variant of pilocytic astrocytoma. We studied 11 circumscribed astrocytomas with focal (n=5) or diffuse (n=6) pilomyxoid features and compared them with 17 pilocytic astrocytomas from the hypothalamic/chiasmatic region in children. In one patient, a tumor that recurred after initial surgery had changed from pure-form pilomyxoid astrocytoma to the mixed form. The presence of a pilomyxoid area was associated with shorter survival. Next, we compared the comprehensive genome copy number changes in the pilomyxoid astrocytoma (n=4) with those in pilocytic astrocytoma (n=6) cases by array-based comparative genomic hybridization. The number of lost clones was larger in pilomyxoid astrocytoma than in pilocytic astrocytoma. Clones located in chromosome 8q24.3 were frequently gained in pilocytic astrocytoma (four of six) and in pilomyxoid astrocytoma (one of four). Clones located in 9p24.3 and 15q26.3 were lost in all of the pilomyxoid astrocytomas and in five of the pilocytic astrocytomas. Those in 8p23.3 showed a copy number loss in three of the pilomyxoid astrocytomas and four of the pilocytic astrocytomas. The frequency of copy number changes was significantly different between pilomyxoid astrocytoma and pilocytic astrocytoma in 47 (3.6%) clones, 20 of them having been located in 2p, 10 in 2q, and 11 in 3q. An unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis classified the cases into three clusters: one pilomyxoid astrocytoma patient into one cluster, two pilomyxoid astrocytoma patients into another cluster, and six pilocytic astrocytoma patients and one pilomyxoid astrocytoma patient into the third cluster. In conclusion, the presence of mixed-form pilomyxoid astrocytoma, the acquisition of pilocytic astrocytoma features in a recurrent tumor in pure-form pilomyxoid astrocytoma, and the above results of the genome-wide gene copy number analysis suggest that pilomyxoid astrocytoma might be a pathologically and genetically related, aggressive variant of pilocytic astrocytoma with partially different genetic alterations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Astrocytoma / genetics
  • Astrocytoma / mortality
  • Astrocytoma / pathology*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clone Cells
  • Comparative Genomic Hybridization / methods*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Hypothalamic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Hypothalamus, Anterior / pathology*
  • Hypothalamus, Anterior / surgery
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Optic Nerve Neoplasms / genetics
  • Optic Nerve Neoplasms / mortality
  • Optic Nerve Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Neoplasm