Supratentorial extra-axial RELA fusion-positive ependymoma misdiagnosed as meningioma by intraoperative histological and cytological examinations: a case report

J Med Case Rep. 2022 Aug 20;16(1):312. doi: 10.1186/s13256-022-03555-9.


Background: Dura-attached supratentorial extra-axial ependymoma is a very rare type of tumor, with only nine reported cases. Preoperative diagnosis of dura-attached supratentorial extra-axial ependymoma is difficult and often radiologically misdiagnosed as a meningioma. We report a case of dura-attached supratentorial extra-axial ependymoma that was misdiagnosed using intraoperative histological and cytological examinations.

Case presentation: A 26-year-old Japanese man with headache and nausea was referred to our medical facility. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a cystic mass of 70 × 53 × 57 mm in the left temporoparietal lobe. A peritumoral band with hyperintensity on T2-weighted imaging was observed at the periphery of the lesion, suggesting an extra-axial lesion with no apparent connection to the ventricle. A dural tail sign was also noted on the gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted image. Preoperative clinical diagnosis was meningioma. Proliferated tumor cells in sheets with intermingled branching vessels were observed in the frozen tissue. Perivascular rosettes were inconspicuous, and the tumor cells had rhabdoid cytoplasm. The tumor was intraoperatively diagnosed as a meningioma, suspected to be a rhabdoid meningioma. Perivascular rosettes were evident in the formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues, suggesting ependymoma. The tumor cells had eosinophilic cytoplasm without a rhabdoid appearance. Anaplastic features, such as high tumor cellularity, increased mitotic activity, microvascular proliferation, and necrosis, were observed. Ependymal differentiation was confirmed on the basis of ultrastructural analysis. Molecular analysis detected C11orf95-RELA fusion gene. The final diagnosis was RELA fusion-positive ependymoma, World Health Organization grade III.

Conclusion: Owing to its unusual location, dura-attached supratentorial extra-axial ependymomas are frequently misdiagnosed as meningiomas. Neuropathologists should take great precaution in intraoperatively diagnosing this rare subtype of ependymoma to avoid misdiagnosis of the lesion as other common dura-attached tumors.

Keywords: Anaplastic ependymoma; Dura-attached supratentorial extra-axial ependymoma; Intraoperative diagnosis; Meningioma; RELA fusion-positive ependymoma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Ependymoma* / diagnosis
  • Ependymoma* / pathology
  • Ependymoma* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Meningeal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Meningioma* / diagnosis
  • Meningioma* / surgery
  • Supratentorial Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Supratentorial Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Supratentorial Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Transcription Factor RelA / genetics


  • RELA protein, human
  • Transcription Factor RelA

Supplementary concepts

  • Familial ependymoma