November 2004: intradural mass of the cauda equina in a woman in her early 60s.Brain Pathol. 2005 Apr; 15(2):169-70, 173.BP
November 2004. A 63-year-old woman presented with slowly aggravating lower back pain and recent urinary urge incontinence. MRI revealed a sharply-delineated, partly cystic intradural mass with inhomogenous contrast-enhancement and ectatic vessels at the upper pole. An ependymoma was suspected, and the tumor was resected in toto. Histologically, at first glance, the tumor strongly resembled an ependymoma, showing a monomorphic cellular pattern, perivascular pseudorosettes and ependymal canal-like structures. However, the finding of a delicate collagen capsule, compartmentation of tumor cells into zellballen and the presence of ganglionic cells were untypical. These features were indicative of a paraganglioma with a gangliocytic component. Immunoreactivity of the tumor cells for neuroendocrine antigens, the detection of GFAP-positive sustentacular cells and the ultrastructural confirmation of neurosecretory granules substantiated this diagnosis. The clinical, radiological and morphological similarity between ependymomas, which are far more common in the cauda equina region than paragangliomas, has led to substantial diagnostic confusion in the past.