Astrocytic tumors

Last revised by Dr Joshua Yap on 20 Jul 2022

Astrocytic tumors are primary central nervous system tumors that either arises from astrocytes or appear similar to astrocytes on histology having arisen from precursor cells. They are the most common tumors arising from glial cells and can be broadly divided into three groups: 

  1. diffuse, adult-type
  2. diffuse, pediatric type
  3. circumscribed

These can further be divided into individual entities as described in the WHO classification of CNS tumors (5th edition, 2021), many of which are molecularly defined 3

Additionally, some tumors also contain astrocytic components, and it is often this component that dictates biological behavior. Examples include:

Most of these tumors have strikingly differing demographics, imaging appearances, treatment and prognosis and thus they are, along with spinal astrocytomas discussed separately.

Note: anaplastic astrocytomagliomatosis cerebrifibrillary astrocytoma and protoplasmic astrocytoma, gemistocytic astrocytoma are no longer recognized as distinct entities in the current WHO classification of CNS tumors.

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