Tumor characteristics and surgical outcomes of intracranial subependymomas: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE The tumor characteristics and surgical outcomes of intracranial subependymomas are poorly defined. In this study the authors aimed to provide a comprehensive review of all clinical, pathological, radiological, and surgical aspects of this important neoplasm to inform future management strategies. METHODS A systematic review and meta-analysis of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane, and Google Scholar databases adherent to PRISMA guidelines was conducted. RESULTS Of the 1145 articles initially retrieved, 24 studies encompassing 890 cases were included. The authors identified 3 retrospective cohort studies and 21 case series, but no controlled trials. Mean age at presentation was 46.7 ± 18.1 years with a male predominance (70.2%). Common sites of tumor origin were the lateral ventricle (44.5%) and fourth ventricle (43.1%). Cumulative postoperative mortality and morbidity rates were 3.4% and 24.3% respectively. Meta-analysis revealed that male sex (HR 3.15, 95% CI 1.39-7.14, p = 0.006) was associated with poorer 5-year overall mortality rates. All-cause mortality rates were similar when performing subgroup meta-analyses for age (HR 0.50, 95% CI 0.03-7.36, p = 0.61), smaller subependymoma size (HR 1.51, 95% CI 0.78-2.92, p = 0.22), gross-total resection (HR 0.65, 95% CI 0.35-1.23, p = 0.18), and receipt of postoperative radiation therapy (HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.27-2.88, p = 0.84). Postoperative Karnofsky Performance Index scores improved by a mean difference of 1.62 ± 12.14 points (p = 0.42). The pooled overall 5-year survival rate was 89.2%, while the cumulative recurrence rate was 1.3% over a median follow-up ranging from 15.3 to 120.0 months. The pure subependymoma histopathological subtype was most prevalent (85.6%), followed by the mixed subependymoma-ependymoma tumor variant (13.7%). CONCLUSIONS Surgical extirpation without postoperative radiotherapy results in excellent postoperative survival and functional outcomes in the treatment of intracranial subependymomas. Aggressive tumor behavior should prompt histological reevaluation for a mixed subependymoma-ependymoma subtype. Further high-quality controlled trials are still required to investigate this rare tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)736-748
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • central nervous system tumor
  • gross-total resection
  • meta-analysis
  • oncology
  • radiotherapy
  • subependymoma
  • survival outcomes

Cite this