JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Pilocytic astrocytoma presenting with atypical features on magnetic resonance imaging.

Pilocytic astrocytoma, which is classified as a grade I astrocytic tumor by the World Health Organization, is the most common type of glioma in children and young adults. Pilocytic astrocytoma generally appears as a well-circumscribed, contrast-enhancing lesion, frequently with cystic components on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, it has been reported that the MRI appearance of pilocytic astrocytoma may be similar to that of high-grade gliomas in some cases. We here report on 6 cases of pilocytic astrocytoma with atypical MRI findings, including small cyst formation, heterogeneously enhancing tumor nodules, irregularly enhancing tumor nodules, and enhancing tumor nodules with internal hemorrhage. All tumors were successfully resected, and the histological diagnoses were pilocytic astrocytoma. When the tumor is located near a cerebral cistern or ventricle, the risk of leptomeningeal dissemination is increased. Furthermore, partial resection has also been associated with a higher risk of recurrence and leptomeningeal dissemination. To date, all but one patient are alive and recurrence-free. Because the preoperative diagnosis influences the decision on the extent of resection and because of the high risk of leptomeningeal dissemination associated with these tumors, careful and correct diagnosis by MRI is important.

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