Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma: a brief review

CNS Oncol. 2019 Nov 1;8(3):CNS39. doi: 10.2217/cns-2019-0009. Epub 2019 Sep 19.


Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (PXA) is a rare primary CNS tumor. Recent advances in the molecular characterization are helping to define subtypes of tumor. The discovery of BRAF mutations within a substantial percentage of PXA fosters a clearer understanding of the pathophysiology of these tumors with clear prognostic and therapeutic implications. These findings are expected to provide insight into the spectrum of clinical behavior observed in PXA, ranging from cure with surgery to diffuse dissemination throughout the neuraxis. This review details the clinical presentation including radiographic appearance of PXA. Pathology, including molecular pathology is discussed. Therapeutic management including surgical resection, radiotherapy and systemic therapies are reviewed.

Keywords: BRAF; PXA; pathology; pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma; radiation; surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytoma / pathology*
  • Astrocytoma / therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Prognosis