Tanycytic ependymoma

Ultrastruct Pathol. 1997 Mar-Apr;21(2):135-42. doi: 10.3109/01913129709021312.


Tanycytic ependymoma is an uncommon fibrillar variant of ependymoma characterized by streams of piloid, or hair-like, cells having "ependymal" nuclei. True ependymal rosettes are absent, and perivascular rosettes are inconspicuous. Misinterpretation as schwannoma or astrocytoma is a diagnostic problem and well-documented cases are scarce. The purpose of this report is to document the ependymal features of the neoplasm and to increase awareness of the entity's existence. Biopsy tissues from three patients with tanycytic ependymoma were examined. All tumors consisted of sheets of spindle cells that were positive for glial fibrillary acidic and S-100 proteins. Ultrastructural examination showed characteristic ependymal features, including intracytoplasmic intermediate filaments, prominent intercellular junctions, numerous slender surface microvilli, and microvilli-lined lumina. Accurate recognition of the ependymal nature of this spindle neoplasm requires a high index of suspicion. Because the spindle cells are immunoreactive with antibodies to both glial fibrillary acidic and S-100 proteins, ultrastructural confirmation of ependymal features is necessary.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens, Surface / analysis
  • Brain Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • Ependymoma / chemistry
  • Ependymoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Ependymoma / pathology
  • Ependymoma / ultrastructure*
  • Female
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / analysis
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • S100 Proteins / analysis
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / ultrastructure*


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • S100 Proteins