An Official publication of The Asian Congress of Neurological Surgeons (AsianCNS)

Search Article
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Advertise Subscribe Contacts Login  Facebook Tweeter
  Users Online: 98 Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size  

   Table of Contents      
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 144-146

Giant cell glioblastoma in a child: A rare case report

Department of Neurosurgery, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Date of Web Publication22-Nov-2012

Correspondence Address:
S K Jain
230, Himmat Nagar, Gopalpura Mode, Tonk Road, Jaipur - 302 018
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1793-5482.103723

Rights and Permissions

Giant cell glioblastoma (GCG) is a subtype of Glioblastoma multiforme that is rare in incidence and distinct in features and histopathological examination. It is reported to have better prognosis than common glioblastomas. The incidence of GCG in children is even more rare. We report a case of GCG in a 10-year-old boy along with a review of the relevant literature focusing on the differentiating points from common glioblastoma.

Keywords: Giant cell glioblastoma, glioblastoma, pediatric

How to cite this article:
Jain S K, Sundar I V, Sinha V D, Sharma V, Bhasme V, Goel RS. Giant cell glioblastoma in a child: A rare case report. Asian J Neurosurg 2012;7:144-6

How to cite this URL:
Jain S K, Sundar I V, Sinha V D, Sharma V, Bhasme V, Goel RS. Giant cell glioblastoma in a child: A rare case report. Asian J Neurosurg [serial online] 2012 [cited 2021 Nov 28];7:144-6. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Giant cell glioblastoma (GCG) is an unusual subtype of glioblastoma (GBM) that merits mention as a distinct variant of the classical glioblastoma in the current WHO classification of gliomas. It represents 1% of glioblastomas in general. [1] Only around 53 published cases exist in the pediatric age group since 1952. Histopathological features of GCG include giant cells with nuclei of variable number shape and size among other features of GBM. p 53 positivity helps differentiate it from the closely related pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma.

  Case Report Top

A 10-year-old male child presented with recent onset headache and vomiting. On examination, the child was conscious and had no localizing signs. A contrast-enhanced CT scan was performed which showed an ill-defined intra axial mass in left parietal region with significant surrounding edema causing mass effect and midline shift to the right side. A contrast-enhanced MRI was performed to further evaluate the lesion. The MRI showed a large intra axial mass lesion in left parietal region with cystic and necrotic components with perifocal edema. The mass was heterogenous and hypointense on TI-weighted images and hyperintense on T2-weighted images. On administration of gadolinium as contrast, the solid portions of the lesion showed intense contrast enhancement. A preoperative diagnosis of high-grade glioma was made and the patient was taken up for surgery. Intraoperatively, the lesion was ill-defined, highly vascular with solid and cystic components. Complete removal of the tumor was done. Histopathological study of the tumor revealed numerous giant cells, numerous and atypical mitoses were seen along with the usual features of glioblastoma. The overall picture was suggestive of GCG. An MRI was performed in the postoperative period and showed complete excision of the tumor. The patient recovered from the surgery and underwent radiotherapy. The last follow-up was at 8 months and there are no clinical or radiological signs of recurrence as yet.

  Discussion Top

GCG is an extremely uncommon WHO grade IV tumor which is characterized by the presence of bizarre looking, multinucleated giant cells. The mean age at presentation has been calculated to be 51 years and a male predominance described. [1] This type of glioblastoma is extremely rare in pediatric patients and in a large series of pediatric brain tumors, these tumors constituted 0.2%. [2] About 9% of the cases were under 20 years of age and 6% of cases were under 10 years of age, 35% occur in people under 40 years. [3],[4] Microscopically, giant cells up to 500 μm in diameter with nuclei of variable number, size, and shape are the characteristic feature. In certain cases, abundant stromal fibrosis can be found-probably responsible for the firmness, good resectability and perhaps a better prognosis of these tumors. GCG predominates in the cerebral hemispheres, mainly subcortically in the temporal and parietal lobes. [4] Other possible primary locations include the cerebellum, [5] the lateral ventricles, the optic chiasm, and the spinal cord. The lesion can be multifocal. [6]

The duration of symptoms is usually short, and the clinical presentation is similar to that of "common" glioblastoma. [4]

On imaging, GCG has no distinguishing features when compared with the "common" glioblastoma. Magnetic resonance (MR) may disclose a contrast enhancing heterogeneous mass, with solid and cystic areas, hypointense on T1-weighted sequences, and hyperintense on T2-weighted sequences, surrounded by edema.

However, the lesion can evolve from well circumscribed and homogeneous, to infiltrative and heterogeneous in a short period. Radiological differential diagnosis include Common GBM, Metastases from extracranial primary [7] and even intra cerebral hemorrhage. [8]

The treatment strategy has generally included surgery which by itself may offer 32 weeks of mean survival time. Radiotherapy has proven beneficial, adding 25 weeks to the total mean survival time. Use of chemotherapy has been described as well, although protocols are quite variable.

Treatment approaches in cases with GCG include surgery followed by radio and chemotherapy. The tumor has been variably described as friable, partially cystic, moderately vascularized, amenable to suction or as solid, firm, and well demarcated and with a good cleavage plane, adhesion to the dura can occur. The aim of surgical intervention is to achieve maximal tumor excision with no or with minimal patient deterioration.

The standard regimen for radio and chemotherapy includes fractionated focal irradiation in daily fractions of 2 Gy given 5 days per week for 6 weeks, for a total of 60 Gy, and continuous daily temozolomide (75 mg per m 2 of body-surface area per day, 7 days per week from the first to the last day of radiotherapy), followed by 6 cycles of adjuvant temozolomide (150 to 200 mg per m 2 for 5 days during each 28-day cycle). [9]

A total or subtotal resection can be achieved in a greater percentage of patients when advanced MRI techniques and intraoperative MRI techniques are used. [10]

A positive relationship has been shown between the length of survival of patients with glioblastomas and the presence of the giant cell variety. The more circumscribed radiologic and histopathologic appearance of GCG may permit more complete resection and thus improve prognosis compared with GBM. [1]

An important morphological differential diagnosis of GCG is pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma. GCG has numerous great-sized giant cells, numerous atypical mitoses, necrosis with pseudo-palisading and rapid evolution of seizures in comparison with pleomorphic astrocytoma. [2] Immunohistochemistry is positive for p53 but negative for neuronal nuclear antigen, neurofilament protein, and synaptophysin in case of giant cell astrocytoma. The reverse is true for pleomorphic astrocytomas. Anaplastic astrocytomas are differentiated from GCGs by a more rapid clinical course, more number of mitosis, and more frequent large-sized multinucleated giant cells in case of GCGs. Giant tumor cells may show lipid accumulation, [11] and abundant microcalcifications may be present as well. [11] Infiltration of the tumor by cells pertaining to the immune system can be prominent, namely mononuclear leukocytes and eosinophilic granulocytes.

In GCG, gene p53 (syn. TP53) has a mutation in 75 to 89% of the cases. [12] p53 protein is involved in cell cycle arrest and apoptosis when DNA is damaged. Mutant p53 proteins are stable and can be detected by immunohistochemistry. These techniques disclose positivity for p53 protein in GCG. Approximately 30% frequency of PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue) gene mutations is recorded in GCG. [13] The PTEN gene is located on chromosome 10 and it is related to cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and inhibition of cell motility; mutation allows cell division. A chromosomal abnormality consisting of loss of 17p, 1p, and 19q has been described for GCG; the combination of 1p and 19q deletions has been associated with a better prognosis.

  Conclusion Top

GCG is subtype of glioblastoma that has distinct pathological features that differentiate it from common glioblastoma, though often the clinical and radiological features are similar in both. Overall, analyses of survival in large series seem to agree that the prognosis is somewhat better than that of "common" glioblastoma. Incidence in children is even more rare than in adults and merits mention to spread awareness about this variant of glioblastoma that may have a slightly better prognosis.

  References Top

1.Kozak KR, Moody JS. Giant cell glioblastoma: A glioblastoma subtype with distinct epidemiology and superior prognosis. Neuro Oncol 2009;11:833-41.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.De PI, Cordobes F, Azorin D, Contra T, Colmenero I, Glez-Mediero I. Pediatric giant cell Glioblastoma: A case report and review of the literature. Childs Nerv Syst 2006;22:285-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Kleihues P, Cavenee WK. World Health Organization classification of tumors. Pathology and genetics of tumors of the nervous system. Lyon: IARC Press; 2000.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Ohgaki H, Peraud A, Nakazato Y, Watanabe K, von Deimling A. Giant cell glioblastoma. In: Kleihues P, Cavenee WK, Editors. Pathology and genetics of tumours of the nervous system. Lyon; IARC Press;2000 pp. 40-1.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Queiroz LS, Faria AV, Zanardi VA, Netto JR. Lipidized giant-cell glioblastoma of cerebellum. Clin Neuropathol 2005;24:262-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Parekh HC, Sharma RR, Prabhu SS, Keogh AJ. Multifocal giant cell glioblastoma: Case report. Surg Neurol 1993;40:151-4.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Nagao E, Yoshiura T, Hiwatashi A, Togao O, Yamashita K, Kamano H, et al. A case of giant cell glioblastoma: A mimicker of a cerebral metastasis. Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi 2010;101:142-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Can SM, Aydin Y, Turkmenoglu O, Aydin F, Ziyal I. Giant cell glioblastoma manifesting as traumatic intracerebral hemorr-hage - case report. Neurol Med Chir 2002;42:568-71.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Stupp R, Mason WP, van den Bent MJ, Weller M, Fisher B, Taphoorn MJ, et al. Radiotherapy plus concomitant and adjuvant temozolomide for glioblastoma. N Engl J Med 2005;352:987-96.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Riva M, Casaceli G, Castellano A, Fava E, Falini A. Lorenzo Beautiful Eyes Guiding Powerful Hands - The Role of Intraoperative Imaging Techniques in the Surgical Management of Gliomas. Eur Neurol Rev 2011;6:208-12.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Kroh H, Matyja E, Marchel A, Bojarski P. Heavily lipidized, calcified giant cell glioblastoma in an 8-year-old patient, associated with neurofibromatosis type 1: Report of a case with long-term survival. Clin Neuropathol 2004;23:286-91.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Peraud A, Watanabe K, Plate KH, Yonekawa Y, Kleihues P, Ohgaki H. p53 mutations versus EGF receptor expression in giant cell glioblastomas. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 1997;56:1236-41.  Back to cited text no. 12
13. Peraud A, Watanabe K, Schwechheimer K, Yonekawa Y, Kleihues P, Ohgaki H. Genetic profile of the giant cell glioblastoma. Lab Invest 1999;79:123-9.  Back to cited text no. 13

This article has been cited by
1 Recurrent Giant Cell Glioblastoma Across Bilateral Lateral Ventricles
Yeshuai Hu,Jun Yang,Shunchang Ma
Neurosurgery Quarterly. 2016; 26(2): 175
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Anterior cerebral artery bypass for complex aneurysms: an experience with intracranial-intracranial reconstruction and review of bypass options
Adib A. Abla,Michael T. Lawton
Journal of Neurosurgery. 2014; : 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Survival outcomes of giant cell glioblastoma: Institutional experience in the management of 20 patients
Taemin Oh,Martin J. Rutkowski,Michael Safaee,Matthew Z. Sun,Eli T. Sayegh,Orin Bloch,Tarik Tihan,Andrew T. Parsa
Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. 2014;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
  Case Report

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded348    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 3    

Recommend this journal