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Clinicopathological study of cellular proliferation and invasion in gliomatosis cerebri: important role of neural cell adhesion molecule L1 in tumour invasion


Background/Aims: In patients with gliomatosis cerebri (GC), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) positive cells invade the entire brain, particularly the white matter. Because the nosological definition and histogenesis of GC remain controversial, the morphology and immunohistochemical staining patterns of neoplastic GC cells were compared with those of other gliomas.

Methods: An immunohistochemical analysis of neoplastic cells from four patients with GC and 20 with astrocytic tumours using antibodies against Ki-67, GFAP, and L1, the last of which is a neural cell adhesion molecule putatively related to glioma invasion.

Results: GC tumour cells can be divided into two types, those mainly composed of strongly GFAP and L1 positive gemistocytic cells, the other composed of small, GFAP and L1 negative spindle shaped cells. The two types did not differ with respect to Ki-67 positivity. Cells from patients with other gliomas were positive for GFAP but concurrent L1 expression was negative or weakly positive.

Conclusion: The strong expression of L1 in patients with GC and its poor expression in the 20 patients with other types of glioma, including those with GFAP positive gemistocytic astrocytomas, suggest that L1 expression may play a role in the histogenesis of GC.

  • GC, gliomatosis cerebri
  • GFAP, glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • MRI, magnetic resonance imaging

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