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  • Updated 10.30.2020
  • Released 03.05.2002
  • Expires For CME 10.30.2023

Central neurocytoma



Central neurocytomas are benign intracranial tumors composing up to 0.5% of all brain tumors (51). They are classified by the World Health Organization as grade II (44; 51). Although central neurocytoma commonly manifest within the cerebral ventricular system (25; 26), they have also been reported in the cerebral hemispheres, limbic system, spinal cord, cerebellum, brainstem, and retina (39; 43; 11; 53; 60).

Central neurocytomas are similar in radiological and histological presentation to other brain tumors, such as oligodendrogliomas, astrocytomas, and ependymomas, and, therefore, require careful differential diagnosis. Diagnosis is generally achieved by a combination of MRI or CT imaging with immunohistochemical confirmation of specific molecular markers. Prognosis is generally good, and primary treatments may include surgical resection or stereotactic radiosurgery (09; 36; 44).

Key points

• Central neurocytomas are rare, brain tumors located in the ventricular system.

• Obstruction of the ventricles by central neurocytomas can lead to hydrocephalus, intracranial hypertension, and mass effect.

• The presence of the immunohistochemical marker synaptophysin can aid in the differential diagnosis of central neurocytomas.

• Maximal safe resection with adjuvant radiotherapy is most frequently utilized for treating central neurocytomas and has a good prognosis.

• Stereotactic radiosurgery is becoming an alternative primary treatment for central neurocytoma.

• These tumors are at risk for recurrence, and recurrences may occur after prolonged intervals.

Historical note and terminology

Central neurocytomas are thought to be derived from neuronal cells, neuronal progenitor cells, neuronal stem cells, or multipotent precursor cells that arise from the fornix, wall of the lateral ventricles, or the septum pellucidum (62; 22; 56; 61; 25; 08; 26; 37; 51).

“Central” neurocytoma is used to reference those lesions that reside within the cerebral ventricular system, whereas “extraventricular” neurocytomas reside elsewhere in the central nervous system.

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