Carcinomas are the most common type of secondary tumour found in the central nervous system, and although they may be the result of direct spread from a local primary site such as the mastoid antrum, they are most often distant metastases spread by a haematogenous route. In either case, the ultrastructural features of these secondary deposits are identical to those of carcinomas elsewhere in the body, and the appearances vary widely depending on the site of the primary tumour and the degree of differentiation in the metastases. In most instances, however, a number of basic features can be identified at electron microscopic level which enable secondary carcinoma deposits to be distinguished from other central nervous system tumours, including choroid plexus carcinomas (see Chapter 8).
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