The gangliocytomas were first described by Virchow (1863, 1865) for the sympathetics, and subsequent cases of Loretz, Parker, and Manasse followed. Most of the cases were published only after the advent of the Nissl stain for ganglion cells. Here our knowledge has been enriched particularly by Bielschowsky and Henneberg; Herxheimer; Pick and Bielschowsky; Schmincke (1909, 1910, 1914); Courville (1930); Christensen (1937), and above all by Foerster and Gagel (1932, 1933). There is considerable lack of clarity on the classification and interpretation of this group. Attempts at subdivision have resulted in the setting up of such subgroups as: neuroblastomas (from immature stages of development), gangliocytomas (ganglion cells and their precursors), ganglioneuromas (gangliocytomas with formation of myelinated fibers—gangliocytoma myelinicum, or axis cylinders alone—amyelinicum), ganglioglioneuromas (gangliocytomas with formation of glia and axis cylinders or myelin sheaths), etc. For neurosurgical purposes, a simpler, all-inclusive concept of gangliocytomas is entirely sufficient, since there is no evidence that the above-mentioned features of autonomous glial participation, or axis cylinder, or myelin formation (if they really occur at all) have any biological significance, i.e., influence the manner of growth or the degree of malignancy. If completeness in a pathological sense is desired, it is sufficient—according to the above data—to add to the name of gangliocytoma the corresponding characteristics. We consider it more important, however, to distinguish three different types depending upon location: 1) in the cerebral hemispheres, brain stem and spinal cord; 2) in the cerebellum; and 3) in the sympathetic trunk. In the subdivision of the neuroepithelial tumors, I have placed the gangliocytomas as a fourth group beside the medulloblastomas, gliomas and paragliomas.
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