Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 161–181

Molecular pathogenesis of oligodendroglial tumors


  • Judith W.M. Jeuken
    • Department of PathologyUniversity Medical Centre Nijmegen
  • Andreas Von Deimling
    • Department of Neuropathology
  • Pieter Wesseling
    • Department of PathologyUniversity Medical Centre Nijmegen

DOI: 10.1007/s11060-004-2748-1

Cite this article as:
Jeuken, J.W., Deimling, A.V. & Wesseling, P. J Neurooncol (2004) 70: 161. doi:10.1007/s11060-004-2748-1


Based on their histopathological appearances, most diffusely infiltrative gliomas can be classified either as astrocytic tumors (As), pure oligodendroglial tumors (Os) or mixed oligoastrocytic tumors (OAs). The latter two may be grouped together as oligodendroglial tumors (OTs). The distinction between As and OTs is important because of the more favorable clinical behavior of OTs. Unfortunately, the histopathological delineation of OAs, Os and As can be difficult because of vague and subjective histopathological criteria. Over the last decade, the knowledge on the molecular genetic background of OTs has drastically increased. This review provides an overview of molecular genetic aberrations in OTs and discusses the pathobiological and clinical significance of these aberrations. In contrast to As, OTs frequently show frequent loss of heterozygosity on chromosome arms 1p and 19q. Since these aberrations are significantly correlated with clinically relevant parameters, such as prognosis and chemosensitivity, and given the difficulties in histopathological typing and grading of glial tumors, genetic testing should be included in routine glioma diagnostics. It is to be expected that the identification of the relevant tumor suppressor genes located on 1p and 19q will lead to more refined genetic tests for OTs. Furthermore, as microarray technology is rapidly increasing, it is likely that clinically relevant markers for OTs will be identified on other chromosomes and need to be included into routine glioma diagnostics as well.

loss of heterozygositymolecular geneticsoligoastrocytomaoligodendroglioma

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004