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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Mohamadmostafa Jahansouz M.D.[2]Sujit Routray, M.D. [3]

Historical Perspective

  • Subependymomas was first discovered by Ilya Mark Scheinker a Russian physician in 1945.[1]



Gross Pathology

Microscopic Pathology

  • On microscopic histopathological analysis, subependymoma is characterized by microcystic spaces and bland appearing cells without appreciable nuclear atypia or mitoses. The nuclei tend to form clusters. No high grade features (mitoses, Ki-67 / MIBI index > 1.5%, necrosis) are present. Loose pseudorosettes are observed.[4]


  • Subependymoma is demonstrated by positivity to tumor marker such as GFAP.[4]
  • Also mixed populations of cells may be variably positive for:[5]

Differentiating Subependymoma from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Frequency and incidence

  • The frequency of asymptomatic subependymomas was 0.4% in 1,000 serial routine necropsies and 0.7% in symptomatic subependymomas from 1,000 serial surgical specimens of intracranial neoplasms.[7]
  • The incidence of subependymoma was estimated to be 0.7 incidence cases per 100,000 of patients with pathologically proven intracranial neoplasms.[8]


  • Patients of all age groups may develop subependymoma.
  • Subependymoma is a rare disease that tends to affect middle-aged adults and the elderly population (typically 5th to 6th decades).[9]


  • Males are more commonly affected with subependymoma than females. The male to female ratio is approximately 2.3 to 1.[9]

Risk Factors

  • The risk factors in the development of subependymoma are not well defined.

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis

Natural History



  • The prognosis of subependymoma is excellent with complete excision of the tumor.[2][12]
  • Common complications of subependymoma are hydrocephalus and focal neurological deficits due to space occupying of the tomur mass.[3]



Physical Examination

  • Patients with Subependymoma usually appear normal.
  • Physical examination may be remarkable for:[15][16][17][18][3][19]

Laboratory Findings

  • There are no specific laboratory findings associated with subependymoma.

Imaging Findings

  • Head CT scan is helpful in the diagnosis of subependymoma. On CT scan, subependymoma is characterized by:[20]
  • Iso- and hypodense intraventricular mass
  • Positive mass effect
  • No enhancement
  • If large, it may have cystic or even calcific components
  • No vasogenic edema
  • Brain MRI is helpful in the diagnosis of subependymoma. On MRI, subependymoma is characterized by:
MRI component Findings

T1 weighted image

  • Iso - hypointense compared to white matter
  • Homogeneous but may be heterogeneous in larger lesions

T2 weighted image

  • Hyperintense compared to adjacent white and grey matter
  • Heterogeneity may be seen in larger lesions, with susceptibility related signal drop out due to calcifications
  • No adjacent parenchymal edema (as no brain invasion is present)

T1 weighted image with contrast

  • Little or no enhancement


  • Surgery is the mainstay of therapy for subependymoma.[3][21]
  • Surgical resection is indicated for:[22]
    • Symptomatic tumours
    • Tumors without a clear imaging diagnosis
  • Incidental intraventricular subependymoma can be managed conservatively through MRI surveillance.[22]


  • There are no primary preventive measures available for subependymoma.


  1. Kurian KM, Jones DT, Marsden F, Openshaw SW, Pearson DM, Ichimura K; et al. (2008). "Genome-wide analysis of subependymomas shows underlying chromosomal copy number changes involving chromosomes 6, 7, 8 and 14 in a proportion of cases". Brain Pathol. 18 (4): 469–73. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3639.2008.00148.x. PMC 2659379. PMID 18397339.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Saad AF, Bidiwala SB, Layton KF, Snipes GJ, Opatowsky MJ (2013). "Fourth ventricular subependymoma presenting as worsening headache". Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 26 (1): 52–4. PMC 3523772. PMID 23382616.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Jain A, Amin AG, Jain P, Burger P, Jallo GI, Lim M; et al. (2012). "Subependymoma: clinical features and surgical outcomes". Neurol Res. 34 (7): 677–84. doi:10.1179/1743132812Y.0000000064. PMC 4618470. PMID 22747714.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Pathology of subependymoma. Dr Bruno Di Muzio and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al. Radiopaedia 2016. Accessed on January 12, 2016
  5. 5.0 5.1 D'Amico RS, Praver M, Zanazzi GJ, Englander ZK, Sims JS, Samanamud JL; et al. (2017). "Subependymomas Are Low-Grade Heterogeneous Glial Neoplasms Defined by Subventricular Zone Lineage Markers". World Neurosurg. 107: 451–463. doi:10.1016/j.wneu.2017.08.009. PMID 28804038.
  6. Intraventricular neoplasms and lesions. Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Vinod G Maller et al. Radiopaedia 2016. Accessed on January 12, 2016
  7. Matsumura A, Ahyai A, Hori A, Schaake T (1989). "Intracerebral subependymomas. Clinical and neuropathological analyses with special reference to the possible existence of a less benign variant". Acta Neurochir (Wien). 96 (1–2): 15–25. PMID 2929389.
  8. Kurukumbi M, Muley A, Ramidi G, Wynn Z, Trouth AJ (2011). "A rare case of subependymoma with an atypical presentation: a case report". Case Rep Neurol. 3 (3): 227–32. doi:10.1159/000333061. PMC 3223030. PMID 22121350.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Epidemiology of subependymoma. Dr Bruno Di Muzio and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al. Radiopaedia 2016. Accessed on January 12, 2016
  10. 10.0 10.1 Clinical presentation of subependymoma. Dr Bruno Di Muzio and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al. Radiopaedia 2016. Accessed on January 12, 2016
  11. Ragel BT, Osborn AG, Whang K, Townsend JJ, Jensen RL, Couldwell WT (2006). "Subependymomas: an analysis of clinical and imaging features". Neurosurgery. 58 (5): 881–90, discussion 881-90. doi:10.1227/01.NEU.0000209928.04532.09. PMID 16639322.
  12. Prayson RA, Suh JH (1999). "Subependymomas: clinicopathologic study of 14 tumors, including comparative MIB-1 immunohistochemical analysis with other ependymal neoplasms". Arch Pathol Lab Med. 123 (4): 306–9. doi:10.1043/0003-9985(1999)123<0306:S>2.0.CO;2. PMID 10320142.
  13. KE, Changshu. "Subependymoma: a case report and the review of literatures". doi:10.3969/j.issn.1672-6731.2011.01.021.
  14. Park YK, Choi WS, Leem W, Kim YW, Yang MH (1990). "Symptomatic subependymoma--a case report". J Korean Med Sci. 5 (2): 111–5. doi:10.3346/jkms.1990.5.2.111. PMC 3053733. PMID 2278665.
  15. Bokhari R, Ghanem A, Alahwal M, Baeesa S (2013). "Primary isolated lymphoma of the fourth ventricle in an immunocompetent patient". Case Rep Oncol Med. 2013: 614658. doi:10.1155/2013/614658. PMC 3625557. PMID 23607015.
  16. Hamilton W, Kernick D (2007). "Clinical features of primary brain tumours: a case-control study using electronic primary care records". Br J Gen Pract. 57 (542): 695–9. PMC 2151783. PMID 17761056.
  17. Wilne SH, Ferris RC, Nathwani A, Kennedy CR (2006). "The presenting features of brain tumours: a review of 200 cases". Arch Dis Child. 91 (6): 502–6. doi:10.1136/adc.2005.090266. PMC 2082784. PMID 16547083.
  18. Perkins A, Liu G (2016). "Primary Brain Tumors in Adults: Diagnosis and Treatment". Am Fam Physician. 93 (3): 211–7. PMID 26926614.
  19. Bi Z, Ren X, Zhang J, Jia W (2015). "Clinical, radiological, and pathological features in 43 cases of intracranial subependymoma". J Neurosurg. 122 (1): 49–60. doi:10.3171/2014.9.JNS14155. PMID 25361493.
  20. Radiographic features of subependymoma. Dr Bruno Di Muzio and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al. Radiopaedia 2016. Accessed on January 12, 2016
  21. Nguyen HS, Doan N, Gelsomino M, Shabani S (2017). "Intracranial Subependymoma: A SEER Analysis 2004-2013". World Neurosurg. 101: 599–605. doi:10.1016/j.wneu.2017.02.019. PMID 28232153.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Varma A, Giraldi D, Mills S, Brodbelt AR, Jenkinson MD (2018). "Surgical management and long-term outcome of intracranial subependymoma". Acta Neurochir (Wien). 160 (9): 1793–1799. doi:10.1007/s00701-018-3570-4. PMC 6105212. PMID 29915887.