Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Brain: ependymoma

Synonym(s): Medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma, brain neoplasia

Contributor(s): Laurent Garosi


  • Rare tumor (<3% of intracranial tumors).
  • May cause secondary acquired hydrocephalus.
  • Signs: as in space-occupying lesions in the brain. Additional signs due to obstructive hydrocephalus and uncompensated intracranial hypertension.
  • Diagnosis: signs, MRI, definitive diagnosis only by biopsy (often post-mortem).
  • Treatment: symptomatic, radiotherapy, ventriculoperitoneal shunting.
  • Prognosis: tend to invade the ventricular system, commonly metastasize in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) system.



  • Neoplasm of the lining epithelium of the ventricles and spinal cord central canal.

Predisposing factors


  • Presently unknown.


  • Presently unknown.


  • Ependymomas are histologically benign neoplasms which arise from the epithelial lining of the ventricles and spinal cord central canal.
  • These tumors have a propensity to penetrate brain parenchyma and may invade the ventricular system and meninges by exfoliation of neoplastic cells and drop metastasis in cerebrospinal pathways.
  • Malignant transformation is rare. Because of their ventricular orientation ependymomas have a tendency to obstruct cerebrospinal pathways, particularly when thay arise in the fourth ventricle. The resultant is obstructive hydrocephalus.
  • They occur most commonly in lateral/third ventricles.
  • Space-occupying lesion   →   local brain compression and zone of edema around tumor   →   focal interference with brain function   →   tumor growth   →   progressive focal neurological deficits; often occurs in the ventricular system   →   acquired obstructive hydrocephalus.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Dickinson P J (2014) Advances in diagnostic and treatment modalities for intracranial tumors. JVIM 28 (4), 1165-1185 PubMed.
  • Woodford L, de Lahunta A, Baiker K et al (2013) Ventricular and extraventricular ependymal tumors in 18 cats. Vet Pathol 50 (2), 243-251 PubMed.
  • Tomek A, Cizinauskas S, Doherr M et al (2006) Intracranial neoplasia in 61 cats: Localisation, tumour types and seizure patterns. J Feline Med Surg (4), 243-253 PubMed.
  • Troxel M T, Vite C H, Massicotte C et al (2004) Magnetic resonance imaging features of feline intracranial neoplasia: retrospective analysis of 46 cats. JVIM 18 (2), 176-189 PubMed.
  • McKay J S, Targett M P, Jeffery N D (1999) Histological characterisation of an ependymoma in the fourth ventricle of a cat. J Comp Pathol 120 (1), 105-113 PubMed.
  • Simpson D J, Hunt G B, Tisdall P L et al (1999) Surgical removal of an ependymoma from the third ventricle of a cat. Aust Vet J 77 (10), 645-648 PubMed.
  • Tremblay C, Girard C, Quesnel A et al (1998) Ventricular ependymoma in a cat. Can Vet J 39 (11), 719-720 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Braund K G (1994) Clinical syndromes in veterinary neurology. 2nd edn. St. Louis: Mosby Year Book. pp 198-207.
  • Braund K G & Rebas J L (1985) Brain ventricular tumors. ACVIM Proceedings, 3rd Annual Forum, San Diego, June 1-4. pp 157-158.