MR characteristics of histopathologic subtypes of spinal ependymoma

Heather Kahan, Evelyn M.L. Sklar, M. Judith Donovan Post, Jocelyn H. Bruce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To examine MR characteristics and enhancement patterns of spinal ependymomas and compare these data with histopathologic subtypes. METHODS: The MR images from 26 cases of pathologically proved spinal ependymomas were evaluated with respect to seven criteria: signal characteristics, enhancement pattern, length of involvement, cysts or syrinxes, hemorrhage, bony changes, and type of cord expansion. Signal characteristics were then correlated with histologic subtype. RESULTS: In the category of enhancement pattern, our results differed markedly from published data, with only 38% of cases demonstrating classic homogeneous enhancement. The remainder of our cases (62%) demonstrated other enhancement patterns, including heterogeneous (31%), rim (19%), minimal (6%), and no enhancement (6%). Pathologic comparison revealed that one histologic subtype, the myxopapillary ependymoma, demonstrated unique imaging characteristics on T1-weighted images. A highly statistically significant percentage of this variant was hyperintense on T1, whereas most nonmyxopapillary ependymomas were hypointense. CONCLUSION: The radiologist should be aware of alternative patterns of enhancement of spinal ependymomas and not be dissuaded from the diagnosis in appropriate clinical settings. In addition, one histologic subtype, myxopapillary, often exhibits signal characteristics different from nonmyxopapillary types, appearing hyperintense on T1 probably because of their intracellular and perivascular accumulation of mucin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-150
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 29 1996


  • Ependymoma
  • Spinal cord, magnetic resonance
  • Spinal cord, neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'MR characteristics of histopathologic subtypes of spinal ependymoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this