Ependymomas are common pediatric brain tumors that originate from the ependyma and characterized by poor prognosis due to frequent recurrence. However, the current WHO grading system fails to accurately predict outcome. In a retrospective study, we analyzed 54 intracranial pediatric ependymomas and found a significantly higher overall survival in supratentorial cases when compared to infratentorial tumors. Next we performed region-specific immunohistochemical analysis of the ependyma in neonatal and adult ependyma from the central canal of spinal cord to the choroid plexus of lateral ventricles for components of cell-cell junctions including cadherins, claudins and occludin. We found robust claudin-5 expression in the choroid plexus epithelia but not in other compartments of the ependyma. Ultrastructural studies demonstrated distinct regional differences in cell-cell junction organization. Surprisingly, we found that 9 out of 20 supratentorial but not infratentorial ependymomas expressed high levels of the brain endothelial tight junction component claudin-5 in tumor cells. Importantly, we observed an increased overall survival in claudin-5 expressing supratentorial ependymoma. Our data indicates that claudin-5 expressing ependymomas may follow a distinct course of disease. The assessment of claudin-5 expression in ependymoma has the potential to become a useful prognostic marker in this pediatric malignancy.
- Choroid plexus epithelium
- Tight junction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cancer Research