Astrocytomas (i.e. glial tumors that diffusely infiltrate through brain tissue) are composed of neoplastic astrocytes that may occasionally exhibit certain morphologic differences when observed microscopically.
Gemistocytic astrocytes are characterized by eccentric nuclei and plump pink cytoplasm that superficially resembles the belly of a pregnant woman when viewed from above. Neoplasms that are predominantly composed of gemistocytic astrocytes, or Gemistocytic Astrocytomas, are traditionally thought to have a worse prognosis. However, much of the research supporting this was performed in the pre-IDH era. Current knowledge indicates that the molecular characteristics of astrocytic neoplasms, and not morphologic variants observed microscopically, play a more important role in predicting patient outcome.
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