Papillary ependymoma: its differential diagnosis from choroid plexus papilloma

J Korean Med Sci. 1996 Oct;11(5):415-21. doi: 10.3346/jkms.1996.11.5.415.


Papillary ependymoma is a rare variant of ependymoma and often gives rise to confusion with choroid plexus papilloma because of topographic, light microscopic and ultrastructural similarities. Here, we report two cases of papillary ependymomas regarding their unique clinicopathologic features and differential points from choroid plexus papilloma. Brain MRI revealed a large mass in the left lateral ventricle in one case and a 3cm sized mass in the pineal area and the 3rd ventricle in the other. Microscopically, the tumor was characterized by papillary and tubular structures. Immunohistochemically, the tumor cells in both cases expressed cytokeratins(CK22 and CAM 5.2) but did not express glial fibrillary acidic protein(GFAP), vimentin, epithelial membrane antigen, and S100 protein. This is a very unusual immunohistochemical feature for papillary ependymoma. Ultrastructurally, the tumor showed a mosaic pattern of tumor cells with frequent intercellular microrosettes having a few stubby microvilli, a few cilia and zonulae adherentes. The cytoplasmic processes were markedly reduced compared to conventional ependymoma. The cytoplasm did not contain intermediate filaments. Interestingly, the mitochondria showed abnormal features with a pleomorphic shape and abnormal cristae in both cases. These ultrastructural features enabled differentiation between papillary ependymoma and choroid plexus papilloma in addition to the light microscopic findings.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Ependymoma / pathology*
  • Ependymoma / surgery
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged