Morphological and flow cytometric analysis of cell infiltration in glioblastoma: a comparison of autopsy brain and neuroimaging

Brain Tumor Pathol. 2010 Oct;27(2):81-7. doi: 10.1007/s10014-010-0275-7. Epub 2010 Nov 3.


Even when we successfully perform a total extirpation of glioblastoma macroscopically, we often encounter tumor recurrence. We examined seven autopsy brains, focusing on tumor cell infiltration in the peripheral zone of a tumor, and compared our findings with the MR images. There has so far been no report regarding mapping of tumor cell infiltration and DNA histogram by flow cytometry, comparing the neuroimaging findings with the autopsy brain findings. The autopsy brain was cut in 10-mm-thick slices, in parallel with the OM line. Tissue samples were obtained from several parts in the peripheral zone (the outer area adjacent to the tumor edge as defined by postcontrast MRI) and then were examined by H&E, GFAP, and VEGF staining. We defined three infiltrating patterns based on number of infiltrated cells as follows: A zone, 100%-60% of the cells infiltrated tumor cells compared with tumor cell density of the tumor mass; B zone, 60%-20%; C zone, 20%-0%. In the autopsy brain, the tumor was easily identified macroscopically. We found that (1) the tumor cells infiltrated the peritumoral area; and (2) tumor cell infiltration was detected over an area measuring from 6 to 14 mm from the tumor border in the A zone. When performing surgery on glioblastoma, a macroscopic total extirpation of the tumor as defined by the contrast-enhanced area in MRI is therefore considered to be insufficient for successfully reducing tumor recurrence.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autopsy
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • DNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Glioblastoma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Thalamic Diseases / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • DNA, Neoplasm