Board Review 3 – Case 8

Neuroradiology board review. This lecture is geared towards the ABR core exam for residents, but it would be useful for review for the ABR certifying exam or certificate of added qualification (CAQ) exam for neuroradiology.

More description and the answer (spoiler!) are seen below the video.

This case shows a teenager with T2 hyperintense mass in the left posterior fossa resulting in mass effect on the 4th ventricle. On post-contrast imaging there is scattered hazy enhancement throughout portions of the mass.

The diagnosis is: pilocytic astrocytoma

Pilocytic astrocytomas are the most common brain tumors in children. They most commonly occur in the posterior fossa and are often characterized by a cystic mass with a nodular enhancing area. They are relatively benign tumors with a good 10 year survival.

When you encounter a cyst with a nodule, there is a relatively short differential diagnosis which includes:

  • Pilocytic astrocytoma
  • Ganglioglioma
  • Hemangioblastoma (has blood vessels/flow voids)
  • Plemomorphic xanthoastrocytoma – PXA