Clinical Review Article Neurosurgery Trends

The 2016 WHO Classification of adult CNS tumours – the essentials: Part 1 | ACNR

The 2016 WHO Classification of adult CNS tumours – the essentials: Part 1 | ACNR

The 2016 WHO Classification of adult CNS tumours – the necessities: Part 1

Posted in Medical Assessment Article,Neurosurgery on 2nd Aug 2018


Harsha Narayanamurthy MBBS, MRCS, is a Specialty Registrar (ST7) in Neurosurgery on the Severn and Peninsula Deanery coaching programme, and is keen on Neuro-oncology, tumour genetics and novel approaches to mind tumour remedy.




Peter Whitfield BM (Distinction in Clin Med), PhD, FRCS Eng., FRCS, SN, FHEA is a Advisor and Affiliate Professor in Neurosurgery. He’s Chairman of the SAC in Neurosurgery and the Fellowship of the European Board of Neurosurgery Examination. His medical apply is vast, encompassing traumatic mind damage, subarachnoid haemorrhage, mind tumours, hydrocephalus and degenerative backbone illness.


Kathreena Kurian BSc (Exp Pathol), MBBS, MD, FRCPath (Neuro) is a Reader in Mind Tumour Analysis at the College of Bristol and Honorary Marketing consultant Neuropathologist, North Bristol Belief. She runs the Mind Tumour Analysis Centre; Institute of Medical Neurosciences, Bristol Medical faculty which goals to scale back the burden of mind most cancers by figuring out danger elements and biomarkers that may inform prevention, personalised analysis and remedy.


Correspondence to: Mr H Narayanamurthy, Division of Neurosurgery, Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Belief, Bristol.
Battle of curiosity assertion: None declared.
Provenance and peer assessment: Submitted and externally reviewed.
Date first submitted: 20/5/17
Date resubmitted after peer evaluation: 29/Four/18
Acceptance date: 9/5/18
To quote: Narayanamurthy H, Whitfield P, Kurian Okay. ACNR 2018;17(Four):5-Eight


Mind tumour classification offers a cornerstone for understanding tumour behaviour. The 2016 WHO classification of CNS tumours combines conventional histological grading with molecular genetics and introduces the ideas of ‘layered diagnosis’ and ‘integrated diagnosis’. An understanding of the primary ideas and necessary variations from the earlier WHO classifications is important to information medical determination making. This paper goals to stipulate the key options of the 2016 WHO classification.


From Rudolf Virchow’s classification in 1863,1 by way of the seminal papers of Bailey and Cushing in 1926 explaining the relations between the creating mind and mind tumours,2 to the idea of tumour grading launched in 1949 by James Kernohan and colleagues3 there have been many vital contributions on this subject. Zulch et al revealed the first WHO classification in 1979, adopted by the second (1993), third (2000) and fourth (2007) editions. A briefly widespread various tumour grading system referred to as the St. Anne – Mayo grading system was additionally revealed in 1988.Four Just lately, partly consequently of The Most cancers Genome Atlas (TCGA), our understanding of the molecular foundation of mind tumours has grown exponentially. Extra exact molecular classification of mind tumours might enhance the success fee of medical trials by evaluating comparable molecular subtypes and result in personalised therapeutic choices for sufferers. The 2016 WHO classification launched the idea of a “layered diagnosis”5 combining histology and molecular genetics. Layer Four describes the molecular genetics, Layer Three the grading, Layer 2 the histological options and Layer 1 being the remaining built-in analysis. This mixed phenotypic and genotypic grouping places tumours with comparable prognostic markers collectively and guides remedy for biologically and genetically comparable tumours. Nevertheless, some disadvantages are inherent, like a delay in getting the remaining outcome as a result of the look forward to molecular genetics testing, a possible change in the grade of the tumour with the ultimate built-in analysis, and in addition, discrepancies in entry to molecular amenities and experience in some areas of the world. Related info relating to the commonest adult tumours are introduced on this article, however the listing is under no circumstances exhaustive. It goals to offer clinicians an inventory of the circumstances often encountered in a busy neurosurgical division.

There have been many modifications launched by the 2016 WHO classification, together with loss of sure entities and introduction of new entities and variants based mostly on a tumour’s mixed histological and genetic traits.


Glioblastomas (GBMs) are extremely malignant CNS tumours, with a reported incidence of Three.19 per 100000 person-years. With the greatest obtainable remedy which incorporates maximal surgical resection and adjuvant radio and chemotherapy, the medial survival of sufferers stands at round 14 months from first analysis. With the understanding of the molecular foundation of these tumours, many novel therapies aimed toward the molecular construction of the tumours are being developed.

Determine 1: An algorithm for classification of diffuse gliomas based mostly on histological appearances and molecular genetics.6


IDH mutation standing subtypes

GBMs have now been categorised based mostly primarily on the IDH mutation standing.7 IDH wild-type (missing the mutation) and IDH-mutant are the 2 essential newly outlined entities. IDH wild-type GBM corresponds to the lesions beforehand described as main glioblastoma and predominate in older sufferers whereas IDH mutant GBM, earlier referred to as secondary GBM, often arises inside a decrease grade glioma and preferentially arises in youthful sufferers.Eight

Whereas IDH standing is usually assessed immunohistochemically utilizing the R132H IDH1 antibody, sufferers who’re 55 years and youthful and adverse by immunohistochemistry ought to ideally be despatched for IDH1/2 sequencing to determine rarer IDH1/2 mutations.

The presence of IDH mutations is strongly predictive of a greater consequence in secondary GBMs.9 Isocitrate dehydrogenases 1 and a couple of (IDH1 and a couple of) are enzymes that convert isocitrate to a-ketoglutarate (aKG). Mutations of IDH1 and a couple of result in neomorphic exercise, leading to conversion of aKG to an oncometabolite referred to as D-2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG), the accumulation of which blocks mobile differentiation. This has led to the improvement of mutant IDH inhibitors (nonetheless in Part 1 trials) which inhibit epigenetic dysregulation and induce mobile differentiation,10 resulting in the hope of tailor-made remedies for sufferers with particular mutations.

Different GBM variants

A brand new variant referred to as epithelioid glioblastoma has been added to the IDH wild-type class, becoming a member of others like big cell glioblastoma and gliosarcoma. Sometimes seen in youngsters and younger adults, it harbours a BRAFV600E mutation in about 50% of instances.11 One other new addition to this class is GBM with primitive neuronal element (displaying properly demarcated nodules with primitive cells having neuronal differentiation, loss of GFAP expression, Homer-Wright rosettes, and an affinity for CSF seeding).12 Adenoid GBM mimics adenocarcinoma (pseudoepithelial sample). Granular cell GBM exhibits presence of bland-looking granular cells typical of granular cell astrocytoma, together with options like frequent mitoses, pseudopalisading necrosis and endothelial hyperplasia. Historic entities like Gliomatosis cerebri and Primitive Neuroectodermal tumour (PNET) have been faraway from the 2016 WHO classification. Gliomatosis is as an alternative used to explain a sample of unfold of glioma.13 A class of glioblastoma NOS has been created for when full molecular analysis can’t be carried out.

Astrocytomas (Diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas)

Astrocytomas originate from immortalised astrocytes and have grades I – IV based mostly on histological properties and presence of malignant options. The incidence is 5.Four per 100000 inhabitants. GBMs are grade IV astrocytomas. With optimum remedy, the prognosis for Grade I lesions (pilocytic astrocytomas, predominantly paediatric tumours) is >10 years, Grade II >5 years, and Grade IIIs 2-5 years.14

Astrocytomas at the moment are outlined by the presence or absence of IDH mutations and categorised as IDH mutant or IDH wild-type astrocytomas. If an R132 IDH1 immunohistochemistry evaluation is adverse, IDH sequencing ought to be carried out in all instances. If willpower of IDH standing is just not attainable, the time period NOS is allowed for use. Therefore, the phrases now in use are:

• Diffuse astrocytoma, WHO grade II, IDH mutant (mut), wild-type (wt) and NOS (the time period diffuse astrocytoma now encompassing earlier fibrillary and protoplasmic variants)

• Gemistocytic astrocytoma WHO grade II IDH mutant; and

• Anaplastic astrocytoma WHO grade III IDH mutant, wild-type and NOS. In almost all instances of diffuse astrocytoma WHO grade II, IDHmut, there are TP53 mutations, and, in a majority, ATRX mutations might be discovered.15 Anaplastic astrocytomas exemplify the use of the layered diagnostic pathway; IDHwt are just like GBM IDHwt in each genetic profile and prognosis and fare worse than GBM, IDHmut.13


Oligodendrogliomas, in accordance with the 2016 WHO classification, are outlined as diffusely infiltrative gliomas with each IDH mutation and 1p/19q co-deletion. These can now embrace tumours that resemble astrocytomas phenotypically, however have the essential genetic markers of IDH mutation and 1p/19q co-deletion.7 The presence of the 1p19q co-deletion improves general survival in sufferers handled with radiotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy comprising procarbazine, lomustine and vincristine.16 The incidence of oligodendrogliomas is calculated to be round 5-19% of all intracranial tumours and 25% of all gliomas. Median survival for Grade IIs is round Four-10 years and Three-Four years in Grade III lesions. Oligodendroglial tumours, NOS is a class used when it has not been potential to hold out molecular analysis. The overwhelming majority of oligodendrogliomas (together with IDH wild-type glioblastomas) harbour TERT mutations. The phrases now in use on this class are:

• Oligodendroglioma WHO grade II, IDHmut & 1p19q co-deleted and NOS

• Anaplastic oligodendroglioma WHO grade III IDHmut & 1p19q co-deleted and NOS

• Oligoastrocytoma WHO grade II, NOS

• Anaplastic Oligoastrocytoma WHO grade III, NOS Oligoastrocytoma NOS is now solely used for tumours which have each astrocytic and oligodendroglial phenotypes and there was a failure or incapability at establishing IDH/ 1p19q standing. True oligoastrocytomas with twin genotypes (1p19q codeletion in oligodendroglial areas and ATRX loss or p53 expression in astrocytic areas)17 are extraordinarily uncommon and are principally resolved into both class utilizing molecular analysis.

Different Astrocytomas

This class consists of:

• WHO grade I tumours like pilocytic astrocytoma and subependymal big cell astrocytoma;

• WHO grade II pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas and

• WHO grade III anaplastic pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas (PXA III). Pilomyxoid astrocytomas have been beforehand given a WHO grade II in contrast with pilocytic astrocytomas, however as a result of of the genetic similarities between the two entities, it’s unsure whether or not the worse prognosis in pilomyxoid astrocytomas is said to their hypothalamic/ chiasmatic location. Subsequently pilomyxoid astrocytomas will not be assigned a WHO grade inside the 2016 classification.7 Anaplastic pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas WHO grade III are PXAs with 5 or extra mitotic figures in 10 excessive energy microscopic fields. Anaplastic PXAs WHO grade III have fewer BRAFV600E mutations than PXA grade IIs and have a worse prognosis.18


Meningiomas are tumours thought to come up from arachnoidal cap cells in the CNS, accounting for 20% of all main intracranial neoplasms, with an annual incidence of 2 per 100000 inhabitants.

Meningioma classification is almost unchanged from the earlier editions, apart from readability relating to prognostic worth of mind invasion in meningiomas, the presence of which categorises the meningioma very clearly as an atypical meningioma, WHO grade II.7 The class stays based mostly upon histological look slightly than molecular expression and incorporates the following WHO grade I variants: meningothelial, fibrous, transitional, psammomatous, angiomatous, microcystic, secretory, lymphoplasmacyte-rich, and metaplastic; WHO grade II variants: chordoid, clear cell and atypical; and the following WHO grade III variants: papillary, rhabdoid and anaplastic.

Peripheral nerve tumours

The earlier entities schwannomas, WHO grade I (comprising schwannoma, plexiform schwannoma and mobile schwannoma variants), neurofibromas WHO grade I (comprising neurofibroma, atypical neurofibroma and plexiform neurofibroma variants), and perineurinomas WHO grade I’ve been retained. Melanotic schwannoma was a schwannoma variant, however has been recognised as a separate entity as a result of proof of potential for malignant transformation in as much as 10% of sufferers:20 to keep away from mis-prognostication, these tumours haven’t acquired any grading. Hybrid nerve sheath tumours, WHO grade I, one other new entity, are tumours that present a mixed schwannoma, neurofibroma and perineurinoma sample. Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNST) historically had grades II, III and IV and this has been modified to epithelioid MPNST and MPNST with perineurial differentiation as an alternative.21 Epithelioid MPNSTs present a multilobulated look and powerful S100 protein positivity. Loss of INI1 expression (67% instances)22 and uncommon BRAFV600E mutations increase the risk of alternate, focused remedy in these generally excised, much less chemosensitive tumours.23


The 2016 molecular WHO classification displays the current big leaps in the understanding of the genetics of mind tumours and hopefully heralds an period of higher outlined medical trials and personalised therapeutic choices for mind tumour sufferers. It has not modified the surgical strategy to most tumours in the CNS, which nonetheless hinges on both a diagnostic biopsy or maximal protected resection. The most necessary consequence of the new classification has been to spotlight molecular targets for novel adjunctive remedies aiming to enhance prognosis and survival. It has highlighted the undeniable fact that prognostic and survival figures beforehand estimated for CNS tumours won’t be totally correct, and there must be a paradigm shift in the method we advise our sufferers about these tumours. Nevertheless, the 2016 WHO classification has additionally highlighted the quantity of work that’s nonetheless essential to realize higher genetically based mostly classifications for a lot of tumours resembling meningiomas and ependymomas. Initiatives akin to the 100,000 genomes challenge will additional our understanding on this regard. It’s important that neuroscience clinicians keep abreast of these developments and work in a multidisciplinary group together with neuropathologists, oncologists and neuroradiologists to conduct an knowledgeable, updated follow.

Listing of abbreviations:

IDH: Isocitrate Dehydrogenase TP53: Tumour protein (gene) 53 ATRX: Alpha-Thalassemia/ Psychological retardation X-linked/ Transcriptional regulator TERT: Telomerase reverse transcriptase BRAF: proto-oncogene B-raf/ v-Raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B INI1: Integrase Interactor 1


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Desk 2: Histological grades of meningiomas with potential recurrence charges19

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