Cerebellar pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma in a patient with neurofibromatosis type 1: a case report and literature review

Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015 Jun 1;8(6):7570-4. eCollection 2015.


Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (PXA) is an uncommon tumor of young adults that typically occurs supratentorially. It is generally considered to be a low-grade, circumscribed tumor that when treated by surgical resection has a relatively favorable outcome. Cases of cerebellar PXA are rare, and those associated with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) are even less common, with only 2 cases reported to date. We present herein a third case of PXA-NF1 with unusual features. A 33-year-old woman presented with a history of headache. Her medical and family history was significant for NF1. Brain MRI revealed a 3.4 cm ill-defined lesion with a gyriform enhancing pattern in the left cerebellum, superficially mimicking Lhermitte-Duclos disease. The patient underwent a gross total resection of the lesion and had an unremarkable postoperative course. While the lesion had histological features typical of "pure" PXA (WHO grade II) it had an unusual growth pattern with thickening of the superficial cerebellar folia and predominant leptomeningeal involvement. No BRAF, IDH-1, or IDH-2 mutation was identified. Three months after surgery, local recurrence was detected, and the patient was treated with radiation therapy. One year after the first surgery, she underwent surgical resection of the recurrent/residual tumor. Histologically, the recurrent tumor showed very similar features to the initially resected tumor, with no anaplastic features. Most cerebellar PXAs have an indolent clinical behavior as do most cerebral PXAs. Whether co-existence of NF1 was a factor in altering the clinical course and biologic behavior of this patient's tumor is currently unknown.

Keywords: Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (PXA); cerebellum; neurofibromatosis type-1 (NF1); recurrence.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Astrocytoma / chemistry
  • Astrocytoma / genetics
  • Astrocytoma / pathology*
  • Astrocytoma / surgery
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biopsy
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / surgery
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / genetics
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / metabolism
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / pathology*
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Burden
  • Xanthomatosis / genetics
  • Xanthomatosis / metabolism
  • Xanthomatosis / pathology*
  • Xanthomatosis / surgery


  • Biomarkers, Tumor