Molecular genetic analysis of giant cell glioblastomas

Am J Pathol. 1997 Sep;151(3):853-7.


Glioblastomas (GBMs) are a heterogeneous group of tumors. Recently, distinct molecular genetic alterations have been linked to subgroups of patients with GBM. Giant cell (gc)GBMs are a rare variant of GBM characterized by a marked preponderance of multinucleated giant cells. Several reports have associated this entity with a more favorable prognosis than the majority of GBMs. To evaluate whether gcGBM may also represent a genetically defined subgroup of GBM, we analyzed a series of 19 gcGBMs for mutations in the TP53 gene for amplification of the EGFR and CDK4 genes and for homozygous deletions in the CDKN2A (p16/MTS1) gene. Seventeen of nineteen gcGBMs carried TP53 mutations whereas EGFR and CDK4 gene amplification was seen in only one tumor each and homozygous deletion of CDKN2A was not observed at all. The strikingly high incidence of TP53 mutations and the relative absence of other genetic alterations groups gcGBM together with a previously recognized molecular genetic variant of GBM (type 1 GBM). It is tempting to speculate that the better prognosis of gcGBM patients may result from the low incidence of EGFR amplification and CDKN2A deletion, changes known for their growth-promoting potential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Child
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, p53 / genetics*
  • Giant Cells / pathology*
  • Glioblastoma / genetics*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • ErbB Receptors
  • CDK4 protein, human
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases