The 2016 revision of the WHO Classification of Central Nervous System Tumours: retrospective application to a cohort of diffuse gliomas

J Neurooncol. 2018 Mar;137(1):181-189. doi: 10.1007/s11060-017-2710-7. Epub 2017 Dec 7.


The classification of central nervous system tumours has more recently been shaped by a focus on molecular pathology rather than histopathology. We re-classified 82 glial tumours according to the molecular-genetic criteria of the 2016 revision of the World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Tumours of the Central Nervous System. Initial diagnoses and grading were based on the morphological criteria of the 2007 WHO scheme. Because of the impression of an oligodendroglial component on initial histological assessment, each tumour was tested for co-deletion of chromosomes 1p and 19q and mutations of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH-1 and 2) genes. Additionally, expression of proteins encoded by alpha-thalassemia X-linked mental retardation (ATRX) and TP53 genes was assessed by immunohistochemistry. We found that all but two tumours could be assigned to a specific category in the 2016 revision. The most common change in diagnosis was from oligoastrocytoma to specifically astrocytoma or oligodendroglioma. Analysis of progression free survival (PFS) for WHO grade II and III tumours showed that the objective criteria of the 2016 revision separated diffuse gliomas into three distinct molecular categories: chromosome 1p/19q co-deleted/IDH mutant, intact 1p/19q/IDH mutant and IDH wild type. No significant difference in PFS was found when comparing IDH mutant grade II and III tumours suggesting that IDH status is more informative than tumour grade. The segregation into distinct molecular sub-types that is achieved by the 2016 revision provides an objective evidence base for managing patients with grade II and III diffuse gliomas based on prognosis.

Keywords: 1p/19q co-deletion; Classification; Glioma; Grading; IDH; WHO.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / classification*
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / classification
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 1
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 19
  • Glioma / classification*
  • Glioma / diagnosis*
  • Glioma / genetics
  • Glioma / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Retrospective Studies
  • World Health Organization