Magnetic resonance features of the enigmatic oligodendroglioma

Invest Radiol. 1998 Apr;33(4):222-31. doi: 10.1097/00004424-199804000-00005.


Rationale and objectives: The authors characterize magnetic resonance (MR) features of oligodendroglioma that permit diagnosis. These features may be used to guide MR stereotactic biopsies.

Methods: Fifteen patients with mixed oligodendroglioma and four with pure oligodendroglioma were studied on a 1.5-tesla MR unit with contrast and also by computed tomography (CT). All patients had their diagnosis confirmed by light and electron microscopy, and by immunohistochemical staining.

Results: The most characteristic finding was a honeycomb tumor matrix (4 of 19) in oligodendroglioma. The most common finding was an amorphous pattern (12 of 19) and the least common was a large cystic pattern (3 of 19). Contrast enhancement most commonly was minimal and dot-like or lacy in appearance (11 of 19), or absent (5 of 19). Calcification was present in the majority (11 of 19).

Conclusions: The honeycomb and stippled amorphous patterns reflect the cytoarchitecture of oligodendroglioma and were the most characteristic MR features. The amorphous pattern was the most commonly encountered pattern. There was a wider range of imaging findings on MR compared with CT; the flocculent calcification on CT was typical, but it was not always detected on MR. Including these characteristic areas that appear along the path of the stereotactic biopsy may ensure a correct diagnosis of oligodendroglioma because it most often is seen with another tumor, usually of the astrocytic family. Identifying the oligodendrogliomatous portion of the tumor will influence the therapy. No differences could be found in the MR appearance or biologic behavior of pure versus mixed oligodendrogliomas.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Glioma / diagnosis
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurocytoma / diagnosis
  • Neurocytoma / pathology
  • Oligodendroglioma / diagnosis*
  • Oligodendroglioma / pathology