Neurology India
menu-bar5 Open access journal indexed with Index Medicus
  Users online: 4036  
 Home | Login 
About Editorial board Articlesmenu-bullet NSI Publicationsmenu-bullet Search Instructions Online Submission Subscribe Videos Etcetera Contact
  Navigate Here 
 Resource Links
  »  Similar in PUBMED
 »  Search Pubmed for
 »  Search in Google Scholar for
 »Related articles
  »  Article in PDF (1,026 KB)
  »  Citation Manager
  »  Access Statistics
  »  Reader Comments
  »  Email Alert *
  »  Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this Article
 »  Abstract
 » Introduction
 » Patients and Methods
 » Results
 » Discussion
 »  References
 »  Article Figures
 »  Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded60    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 11    

Recommend this journal


Table of Contents    
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 379-384

Lateral ventricular subependymomas: An analysis of the clinical features of 27 adult cases at a single institute

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Neurosurgical Institute, Capital Medical University, Beijing; Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
2 Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
3 Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Neurosurgical Institute, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China

Date of Submission27-Apr-2012
Date of Decision29-Jun-2012
Date of Acceptance19-Jul-2012
Date of Web Publication6-Sep-2012

Correspondence Address:
Zhongcheng Wang
Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Neurosurgical Institute, Capital Medical University, Tiantan Xili 6, Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100050
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.100723

Rights and Permissions

 » Abstract 

Objective: To evaluate the unique clinical characteristics and management of lateral ventricular subependymomas (LVSs). Patients and Methods : The case records of 27 adult consecutive patients with LVS admitted between March 1996 and May 2011 were reviewed. The relevant clinical data (including patient age and sex, neuroimaging studies, surgical records and follow up) were collected through a chart review. Patient neurological status was recorded using the Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS). Results: The gender distribution was 14:13 and the age from 33 to 66 years (median 45 years) at the time of operation. Headache and dizziness were the most common initial symptoms (17/27). Most of these tumours were located at the foramen of Monro (12/27). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (21/27) showed well circumscribed tumours with cystic changes (21/27). The lesions were hypointense on T1-weighted images (19/21), hyperintense on T2-weighted images (21/21), and contrast enhancement was no or minimal (19/21). Gross total resection was performed in 23 patients. Five patients required a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt because of postoperative hydrocephalus. The follow-up period ranged from 6 to 188 months (mean 55.5 months). No recurrence was observed during the follow up. Conclusion: In this study LVSs had equal gender distribution. Tumours around the foramen of Monro were the candidates for aggressive treatment; surgery was the best curative treatment; postoperative hydrocephalus should be attended to.

Keywords: Adult, lateral ventricular, subependymoma

How to cite this article:
Hou Z, Wu Z, Zhang J, Zhang L, Tian R, Liu B, Wang Z. Lateral ventricular subependymomas: An analysis of the clinical features of 27 adult cases at a single institute. Neurol India 2012;60:379-84

How to cite this URL:
Hou Z, Wu Z, Zhang J, Zhang L, Tian R, Liu B, Wang Z. Lateral ventricular subependymomas: An analysis of the clinical features of 27 adult cases at a single institute. Neurol India [serial online] 2012 [cited 2023 Jun 2];60:379-84. Available from:

 » Introduction Top

Subependymomas are rare, noninvasive, slow-growing tumours and occur most commonly in middle-aged and elderly men. [1] Most frequently are located in the fourth and lateral ventricles. [2],[3] Only a few larger case series have focused only on lateral ventricular subependymomas (LVSs). [2],[4],[5],[6],[7] In this paper, we review our experience of 27 cases of LVSs.

 » Patients and Methods Top

Between March 1996 and May 2011, 27 adult patients (14 females, 13 males) underwent surgery for LVS at the Department of Neurosurgery in Beijing Tiantan Hospital. The relevant clinical data (including patient age and sex, neuroimaging studies, surgical records and follow up) were collected through a chart review and telephone interviews. Radiological reports and surgical records were considered for analysis when the preoperative or postoperative films were unavailable for review. Gross total resection (GTR) was defined as total macroscopic removal of the tumor mass and subtotal resection (STR) as subtotal macroscopic tumor removal. The estimation of the extent of tumor removal was primarily the responsibility of the neurosurgeons, but was also validated by reviewing the post-surgical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Postoperative neurological status was assessed using the Karnofsky performance scale (KPS).

 » Results Top

Clinical presentation

The clinical characteristics of the 27 patients are summarised in [Table 1]. Age ranged from 33 to 66 years (median 45 years) and average age at the time of presentation was more for men than for women (48 vs. 42 years). The duration of symptoms ranged from two weeks to three years (median 24 mos.). Headache and dizziness were the most common initial symptoms.
Table 1: Clinical features of 27 subependymomas

Click here to view

Location and size

Location of the tumours was: left lateral in 12 patients, right lateral in 12 patients, bilateral in 3 patients. Intraventricular location was: foramen of Monro in 12 patients, septum pellucidum in 7 patients, trigone of the lateral ventricle in 6 patients, and both the lateral and third ventricles in two patients [Cases 7, 16; [Figure 1]]. Tumour size ranged from 1.5 cm to 7.3 cm (median 4.0 cm). Four tumours were less than 3.0 cm in the greatest dimension, 19 were between 3.0 cm and 5.0 cm, and 4 were greater than 5.0 cm. The size of symptomatic subependymomas around the foramen of Monro was relatively small (mean 2.9 cm).
Figure 1: Case 7. A subependymoma in a 44-year-old female presented with headache. (a) A contrast enhanced axial image shows a hypointense intraventricular tumour with no enhancement; (b) A contrast-enhanced coronal image shows a mass with cystic areas within the tumour and associated hydrocephalus; (c) A contrast-enhanced sagittal image shows a mass located in the left and third ventricles; (d) A postoperative contrastenhanced axial image shows that the lesion was totally resected

Click here to view

Neuroradiological findings

Preoperative computer tomography (CT) results were available in seven patients, and MRI results were available in 21 patients [Table 2]. Hydrocephalus was noted in 23/27 (85%) patients. The CT scans in 7 patients demonstrated nodular masses with cystic changes and no calcification in the intraventricular location. The lesions were hypo-dense in 4 cases and iso-dense in 3 cases. Only one of the 7 patients had CT contrast imaging and it demonstrated mineral enhancement. MRI revealed well circumscribed lesions and cystic degeneration was noted in 19/21 tumours. Peritumoral oedema was observed in 2 patients [Cases 3, 10; [Figure 2]]. T1-weighted images revealed a hypointense signal in 19/21 patients and an isointense signal in 2/21 patients. T2-weighted imaging showed a hyperintense signal in all the patients. Administration of contrast resulted in no to minimal enhancement in most subependymomas (19/21). Moderate enhancement was observed in one tumour, and bright contrast enhancement was observed in one case [Case 3; [Figure 2]].
Table 2: MR imaging features of 21 lateral ventricular subependymomas

Click here to view
Figure 2: Case 3. A subependymoma in a 34-year-old female presented with headache and visual blurring for two months. (a) A preoperative axial T1- weighted MRI showing a hypointense 20 mm tumour at the left septum pellucidum, (b) A contrast-enhanced axial image shows a tumour with obvious homogenous enhancement, (c) An axial T2-weighted MRI showing a tumour with peritumoural oedema and cystic degeneration

Click here to view

Histological findings

A histological examination showed that the tumour cells were of low cellularity with an alternating appearance of hypocellular and cellular portions. Tumour cell nuclei, which were round to ovoid nuclei, were grouped in clusters and embedded in a fibrillary matrix of cell processes with the frequent occurrence of small cysts [Figure 3].
Figure 3: A photomicrograph of a stained tumour showing cell nests and microcysts scattered in the gliofibrillary background (hematoxylin and eosin, original magnification ×100)

Click here to view

Operative findings and outcomes

All patients underwent a craniotomy for tumour removal. Intraoperatively, the tumours typically appeared as hypo-vascular, greyish white, smooth-surfaced, rubbery masses. All tumours were located in the ventricles without extension into the brain parenchyma. Tumours were found attached to the septum pellucidum in 10 patients, the lateral ventricular wall in 9 patients, the thalamus in 6 patients, the caudate nucleus wall in 1 patient, and the roof of the third ventricle in 1 patient. Gross total resection was performed in 23 patients and subtotal resection in the 2 trigonal tumours (Cases 9 and 14), in 1 bilateral ventricular tumour (Case 6) and in 1 right septum pellucidum tumour (Case 10), due to limited exposure along the ventricular walls and profuse bleeding. Postoperatively, 1 patient (Case 8) died of intraventricular haemorrhage, 1 patient (Case 10) had a postoperative haemorrhage and infection and 1 patient (Case 26) had a postoperative subdural effusion. The follow up data were available for 26 of the 27 patients. The mean follow-up was 55.5 months (range: 6-188 months). None of the 26 patients showed tumour recurrence at the time of follow up. Five patients (Cases 1, 6, 11, 14 and 21) developed hydrocephalus postoperatively and required a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt. No adjuvant therapy was prescribed. At follow-up, most patients had KPS scores that were higher or equivalent to their preoperative values (24/26). Only three patients exhibited a poor KPS.

 » Discussion Top

Subependymomas are rare and only a few series of LVSs have been published [1],[2],[3],[4], [7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15] [Table 3]. Of the 83 cases of subependymomas in the series by Rushing et al., 36 were located in the lateral ventricle and a limited clinical data were provided. [8] Ragel et al. [3] reported 16 cases of subependymomas with only 3 cases located in the lateral ventricle. Our series adds 27 patients, which is a significant number, to the existing literature. Analysis of the published data on LVS reveals some unique characteristics in these patients.
Table 3: A summary of the relatively large case series of lateral ventricular subependymomas in the English literature

Click here to view

Subependymomas occur most commonly in middle-aged and elderly men. [1] The gender distribution in the published case series was somewhat similar and if at all more in women. This was more so in the series from Asian countires [Table 3]. The mean age of the patients in our series was 45 years and the gender distribution was almost equal in either sex. LVS can be asymptomatic all the life. Many cases are detected incidentally. The presenting symptoms can be divided into symptoms caused by CSF obstruction (e.g., headache, nausea, vomiting, altered consciousness) or those attributable to the compression of neural structures (e.g., complaints of sensory symptoms, motor weakness, seizure). In our case series, headache and dizziness were the most common initial symptoms. Tumour location and size are critical factors for presenting symptoms. Tumours smaller than 2 cm in diameter are generally asymptomatic but may become symptomatic when they grow to 3-5 cm in size, [16] which was also the observation in our series. However, subependymomas around the foramen of Monro should be handled carefully regardless the size as the tumour in this location can casue acute hydrocephalus. [16],[17] The mean size of the subependymomas around the foramen of Monro with symptoms in our patients was 2.9 cm.

In this study on neuroimaging subependymoma were well demarcated with nodular appearance with no side dominance as seen in our series. Within the ventricle, LVSs were most commonly located at foramen of Monro. Hydrocephalus was noted in 85% of patients. The proportion of symptomatic patients with hydrocephalus was 87.5%, which is similar to the 88% reported by Scheithauer. [1] On CT majority of LVSs appear as well-defined iso-or hypo-dense intraventricular masses with no to minimal contrast enhancement. [4],[11] Calcification is not commonly found in association with LVS, [18] as the case in our series. On MRI LVSs are lobulated intraventricular masses with rare paraventricular extension and frequent intratumoural cyst formation. [2],[4],[14],[19] These lesions are hypo-to iso-intense on T1-weighted images and hyperintense on T2-weighted images; with little to no enhancement enhancement. [3],[4],[14],[19],[20] Peritumoral oedema, dense enhancement, and intratumour haemorrhage are somewhat rare. [2],[11],[20],[21],[22] Among our cases, we found only two tumours with peritumoural oedema, one tumour with moderate enhancement, and one tumour with obvious contrast enhancement. The differential diagnosis of a lateral ventricular mass included choroid plexus papilloma, central neurocytoma, subependymal giant cell astrocytoma, meningioma, metastasis and ependymoma. [23] Although the signal characteristics and contrast enhancement pattern are non-specific, if the imaging findings are examined together with the patient's age, gender and the specific location of the tumour within the ventricle, the preoperative diagnosis of subependymoma is still possible in most cases.

Subependymomas often carry a good prognosis, and complete surgical removal is typically curative for LVSs. The treatment options for LVSs include both 'watchful waiting' and surgical resection. [3] In asymptomatic patients, serial imaging is reasonable. Some authors argue in favour of surgery for such cases for the following reasons: benign biological behaviour of the tumour, the potential for a surgical cure, and the desire to avoid the risk of symptom worsening or even death because small tumours may unexpectedly become symptomatic. [16] Two of three asymptomatic patients in our series exhibited hydrocephalus, which implies the need for aggressive treatment. Surgery is indicated for the establishment of a pathological diagnosis or the decompression of neural elements. Intraoperatively, subependymomas are often found to be rubbery in consistency and greyish white in colour. [14],[24] Expansive growth into the ventricle rather than an infiltrative growth into the parenchyma, hypovascularity, and sharp demarcation from the surrounding brain are also typical characteristics of LVSs. [2],[14] Large subependymomas often have several sites of attachment, and surgeons must exercise care to avoid damage to adjacent structures. Some tumours may be markedly lobulated and hypervascular and have limited exposure along the ventricular walls, and the subtotal removal of such tumours often results in a favourable outcome. Meanwhile, if the ventricles are of adequate size, the endoscope can be used to remove or to assist in the removal of LVSs. [25],[26] Although postoperative morbidity is rare, the reported complications include hydrocephalus, meningitis, and sepsis. [2],[10],[11],[14],[19] Among our patients, one died of an intraventricular haemorrhage, one experienced postoperative haemorrhage and infection, one exhibited postoperative subdural effusion, and five (5/27) postoperatively developed hydrocephalus requiring a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt operation. Hydrocephalus should be given more attention.

 » References Top

1.Scheithauer BW. Symptomatic subependymoma. Report of 21 cases with review of the literature. J Neurosurg 1978;49:689-96.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Nishio S, Morioka T, Mihara F, Fukui M. Subependymoma of the lateral ventricles. Neurosurg Rev 2000;23:98-103.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Ragel BT, Osborn AG, Whang K, Townsend JJ, Jensen RL, Couldwell WT. Subependymomas: An analysis of clinical and imaging features. Neurosurgery 2006;58:881-90; discussion 881-90.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Maiuri F, Gangemi M, Iaconetta G, Signorelli F, Del Basso De Caro M. Symptomatic subependymomas of the lateral ventricles. Report of eight cases. Clin Neurol Neurosurg 1997;99:17-22.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Viale GL. Subependymomas of the lateral ventricles. Br J Neurosurg 1994;8:765-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Vaquero J, Herrero J, Cabezudo JM, Leunda G. Symptomatic subependymomas of the lateral ventricles. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 1980;53:99-105.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Koutourousiou M, Georgakoulias N, Kontogeorgos G, Seretis A. Subependymomas of the lateral ventricle: Tumor recurrence correlated with increased Ki-67 labeling index. Neurol India 2009;57:191-3.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
8.Rushing EJ, Cooper PB, Quezado M, Begnami M, Crespo A, Smirniotopoulos JG, et al. Subependymoma revisited: Clinicopathological evaluation of 83 cases. J Neurooncol 2007;85:297-305.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Artico M, Bardella L, Ciappetta P, Raco A. Surgical treatment of subependymomas of the central nervous system. Report of 8 cases and review of the literature. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 1989;98:25-31.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Lombardi D, Scheithauer BW, Meyer FB, Forbes GS, Shaw EG, Gibney DJ, et al. Symptomatic subependymoma: A clinicopathological and flow cytometric study. J Neurosurg 1991;75:583-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Ildan F, Cetinalp E, Bagdatoglu H, Tunah N, Gönlüþen G, Karadayi A. Surgical treatment of symptomatic subependymoma of the nervous system. Report of five cases. Neurosurg Rev 1994;17:145-50.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Furie DM, Provenzale JM. Supratentorial ependymomas and subependymomas: CT and MR appearance. J Comput Assist Tomogr 1995;19:518-26.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Prayson RA, Suh JH. Subependymomas: Clinicopathologic study of 14 tumors, including comparative MIB-1 immunohistochemical analysis with other ependymal neoplasms. Arch Pathol Lab Med 1999;123:306-9.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Im SH, Paek SH, Choi YL, Chi JG, Kim DG, Jung HW, et al. Clinicopathological study of seven cases of symptomatic supratentorial subependymoma. J Neurooncol 2003;61:57-67.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Kandenwein JA, Bostroem A, Feuss M, Pietsch T, Simon M. Surgical management of intracranial subependymomas. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2011;153:1469-75.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Fujisawa H, Hasegawa M, Ueno M. Clinical features and management of five patients with supratentorial subependymoma. J Clin Neurosci 2010;17:201-4.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Bruzzone E, Arcuri T, Cocito L. Subependymoma of the lateral ventricle presenting with sudden onset. J Clin Neurosci 1998;5:336-8.  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Chiechi MV, Smirniotopoulos JG, Jones RV. Intracranial subependymomas: CT and MR imaging features in 24 cases. AJR Am J Roentgenol 1995;165:1245-50.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Hashimoto M, Tanaka H, Oguro K, Masuzawa T. Subependymoma of the lateral ventricle-case report. Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo) 1991;31:732-5.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Silverstein JE, Lenchik L, Stanciu MG, Shimkin PM. MRI of intracranial subependymomas. J Comput Assist Tomogr 1995;19:264-7.  Back to cited text no. 20
21.Lindboe CF, Stolt-Nielsen A, Dale LG Hemorrhage in a highly vascularized subependymoma of the septum pellucidum: Case report. Neurosurgery. 1992;31:741-5.  Back to cited text no. 21
22.Matsumura A, Ahyai A, Hori A. Symptomatic subependymoma with nuclear polymorphism. Neurosurg Rev 1987;10:291-3.  Back to cited text no. 22
23.Rath TJ, Sundgren PC, Brahma B, Lieberman AP, Chandler WF, Gebarski SS. Massive symptomatic subependymoma of the lateral ventricles: Case report and review of the literature. Neuroradiology 2005;47:183-8.  Back to cited text no. 23
24.Lobato RD, Sarabia M, Castro S, Esparza J, Cordobés F, Portillo JM, et al. Symptomatic subependymoma: Report of four new cases studied with computed tomography and review of the literature. Neurosurgery 1986;19:594-8.  Back to cited text no. 24
25.Fratzoglou M, Leite dos Santos AR, Gawish I, Perneczky A. Endoscope-assisted microsurgery for tumors of the septum pellucidum: Surgical considerations and benefits of the method in the treatment of four serial cases. Neurosurg Rev 2005;28:39-43.  Back to cited text no. 25
26.Cappabianca P, Cinalli G, Gangemi M, Brunori A, Cavallo LM, de Divitiis E, et al. Application of neuroendoscopy to intraventricular lesions. Neurosurgery 2008;62 Suppl 2:575-97; discussion 597-8  Back to cited text no. 26


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

This article has been cited by
1 Third Ventricular Subependymomas: Clinical Features and Outcomes Over Two Decades
Matthew T. Carr, Gianina C. Hernandez-Marquez, Meenakshi Vij, Xing Chin, Bradley N. Delman, Melissa Umphlett, Isabelle M. Germano
World Neurosurgery. 2023;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Imaging of the septum pellucidum: normal, variants and pathology
Selima Siala, Dean Homen, Benjamin Smith, Carolina Guimaraes
The British Journal of Radiology. 2023;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Clinical features and surgical outcomes of intracranial and spinal cord subependymomas
Jordina Rincon-Torroella, Maureen Rakovec, Adham M Khalafallah, Ann Liu, Anya Bettegowda, Carmen Kut, Fausto J. Rodriguez, Jon Weingart, Mark Luciano, Alessandro Olivi, George I. Jallo, Henry Brem, Debraj Mukherjee, Michael Lim, Chetan Bettegowda
Journal of Neurosurgery. 2022; : 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Tumor characteristics and surgical outcomes of intracranial subependymomas: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Barry Ting Sheen Kweh, Jeffrey Victor Rosenfeld, Martin Hunn, Jin Wee Tee
Journal of Neurosurgery. 2021; : 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 Molecular Classification and Therapeutic Targets in Ependymoma
Thomas Larrew, Brian Fabian Saway, Stephen R. Lowe, Adriana Olar
Cancers. 2021; 13(24): 6218
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 Intraparenchymal subependymoma: Case report and literature review
Othavio Gomes Lopes, Felipe Calmon Du Pin Almeida, Gustavo Augusto Porto Sereno Cabral, Rodrigo Dias Guimaraes, Ruy Castro Monteiro da Silva Filho, Jose Alberto Landeiro
Surgical Neurology International. 2021; 12: 154
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
7 Superficial siderosis and nonobstructive hydrocephalus due to subependymoma in the ventricle: An illustrative case report
Yuta Otomo, Naoki Ikegaya, Akito Oshima, Shutaro Matsumoto, Naoko Udaka, Chia-Cheng Chang, Kensuke Tateishi, Hidetoshi Murata, Tetsuya Yamamoto
Surgical Neurology International. 2021; 12: 631
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
8 Intraventricular neuroepithelial tumors: surgical outcome, technical considerations and review of literature
A. Kaywan Aftahy, Melanie Barz, Philipp Krauss, Friederike Liesche, Benedikt Wiestler, Stephanie E. Combs, Christoph Straube, Bernhard Meyer, Jens Gempt
BMC Cancer. 2020; 20(1)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
9 Bilateral lateral ventricular subependymoma with extensive multiplicity presenting with hemorrhage
FM Moinuddin,Novita Ikbar Khairunnisa,Hirofumi Hirano,Tomoko Hanada,Tsubasa Hiraki,Mari Kirishima,Kiyohisa Kamimura,Kazunori Arita
The Neuroradiology Journal. 2018; 31(1): 27
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
10 Intracranial Subependymoma: A SEER Analysis 2004–2013
Ha Son Nguyen,Ninh Doan,Michael Gelsomino,Saman Shabani
World Neurosurgery. 2017; 101: 599
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
11 Clinical, radiological, and pathological features in 43 cases of intracranial subependymoma
Zhiyong Bi,Xiaohui Ren,Junting Zhang,Wang Jia
Journal of Neurosurgery. 2015; 122(1): 49
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article
Online since 20th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow