Subependymomas: An analysis of clinical and imaging features

Brian T. Ragel, Anne G. Osborn, Kum Whang, Jeannette J. Townsend, Randy L. Jensen, William T. Couldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Subependymomas are slow-growing, benign tumors usually found incidentally in the fourth ventricle at autopsy. They are typically associated with the ventricular system and become apparent clinically only when symptoms of hydrocephalus or mass effect develop. We review clinical, histological, and contemporary radiographic presentations of 16 subependymomas, including 2 intraparenchymal tumors. METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated eight patients with pathologically proven subependymomas. Initial magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy were reviewed when available. Imaging was also available on eight outside subependymoma cases reviewed by our radiology department. RESULTS: Twelve of these subependymomas were intraventricular, one was in the posterior fossa, two were intraparenchymal, and one was an intramedullary spinal cord tumor. These lesions were hypo- to hyperintense on T1- and T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, with minimal to moderate enhancement. Initial complaints included headache, seizures, tingling sensations, and weakness. Among our eight patients who underwent gross total resection with no adjuvant therapy, no recurrences have been noted on follow-up magnetic resonance imaging. CONCLUSION: Subependymomas are rare, representing only 0.51% of all central nervous system tumors operated on during an 8-year period at the University of Utah. Clinical symptoms were associated with tumor location: intracranial masses caused headaches, seizures, and neurological complaints, and spinal cord locations resulted in neurological deficit. The authors review the clinical presentation, management, and contemporary radiographic appearance of this rare tumor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-889
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Intracranial
  • Spinal
  • Subependymoma
  • Symptomatic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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