Recurrent adult pilocytic astrocytoma presenting with intraventricular and leptomeningeal spread

Khadeja Khan, Evan Luther, Alexis A. Morrell, Sze Kiat Tan, Daniel G. Eichberg, Ashish H. Shah, Victor M. Lu, Sakir H. Gultekin, Jacques J. Morcos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Infratentorial pilocytic astrocytomas are uncommon tumors in adulthood but are thought to be prognostically similar to their pediatric counterparts with excellent overall survival following gross total resection. However, given the relative rarity of these tumors, no management guidelines exist for recurrent adult pilocytic astrocytomas (APAs). This lack of consensus is especially problematic for inoperable recurrences or those with aggressive features concerning for malignant transformation. Case Description: In 2017, a 26-year-old female presented with headaches, nausea, vomiting, and blurry vision. A brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated a large, well-circumscribed mass within the fourth ventricle causing obstructive hydrocephalus. She underwent near-total resection through a midline suboccipital transtonsillar approach. Pathology demonstrated a World Health Organization Grade 1 pilocytic astrocytoma. Despite initial improvement in her symptoms, she developed worsening headaches and lethargy 10 months after surgery and repeat MRI demonstrated recurrent tumor within the entire ventricular system and the subarachnoid spaces of the left cerebellopontine angle suggesting leptomeningeal spread. Due to the unresectable nature of the recurrence, the patient declined any further intervention and succumbed to her disease 6 months later. Conclusion: We present the first case of a recurrent APA presenting with intraventricular and leptomeningeal spread. Although thought to be a benign neoplasm, close interval follow-up with serial imaging is of essential, especially in those patients with known residual tumor, to prevent aggressive recurrences such as this.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA3
JournalSurgical Neurology International
StatePublished - 2021


  • Adult pilocytic astrocytoma
  • Inoperable recurrence
  • Leptomeningeal spread
  • Malignant transformation
  • Subtotal resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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