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Open access

Metastatic intradural primary spinal osteosarcoma: illustrative case

Shreyas Thiruvengadam, Mark Lam, and Stephen Honeybul

BACKGROUND

Osteosarcomas are a common primary bone neoplasm among adolescents but represent 0.2% of all malignancies with an incidence of two to four cases per million persons annually worldwide. Although known to have significant metastatic potential, its rare incidence, treatment resistance, and poor prognosis have rendered it a poorly understood and infrequently documented pathology.

OBSERVATIONS

Herein the authors present the first documented case of lumbosacral intradural metastasis of a primary osteosarcoma in a young patient, possibly via intradural dissemination following pinhole durotomy in a prior thoracic surgery.

LESSONS

Osteosarcomas remain a difficult pathology to treat, particularly upon metastatic dissemination. The utility of adjuvant radiotherapy after resection of an osteosarcoma is increasingly evident in the reduction of local recurrence. In the context of intraoperative pinhole durotomies in resections of high-grade lesions, due consideration should be given to whole-spine radiation, although this remains an evidence-free zone.

Open access

A rare case of atypical intradural extramedullary glioblastoma diagnosed utilizing next-generation sequencing and methylation profiling: illustrative case

William J Shelton, Andrew P Mathews, Karrar Aljiboori, J. Stephen Nix, Murat Gokden, and Analiz Rodriguez

BACKGROUND

Primary spinal cord tumors, especially primary spinal cord glioblastoma multiforme (PSC-GBM), are exceptionally rare, accounting for less than 1.5% of all spinal tumors. Their infrequency and aggressive yet atypical presentation make diagnosis challenging. In uncertain cases, a surgical approach for tissue diagnosis is often optimal.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old male presented with a rapidly progressing clinical history marked by worsening extremity weakness, urinary retention, and periodic fecal incontinence alongside diffuse changes on neuraxis imaging. The patient, in whom subacute polyneuropathy was initially diagnosed, received multiple rounds of steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin without clinical improvement. Histopathological review of the biopsy tissue yielded an initial diagnosis of spindle cell neoplasm. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is done routinely on all neuropathology specimens at the authors’ institution, and methylation profiling is pursued in difficult cases. Ultimately, NGS and methylation profiling results were essential to an integrated final diagnosis of GBM.

LESSONS

PSC-GBM is a rare but highly aggressive occurrence of this tumor. Prolonged back pain, rapid neurological decline, and imaging changes warrant the consideration of lesional biopsy for precise disease characterization. In inconclusive cases, NGS has proved invaluable for clinical clarification and diagnosis, underscoring its importance for integrated diagnoses in guiding appropriate treatment strategies.

Open access

Posterior-only 2-level vertebrectomy and fusion in a medically complex patient with lumbar metastasis: illustrative case

Ryan Johnson, Annabelle Shaffer, Ashley Tang, Kathryn Tsai, Gina Guglielmi, and Paul M Arnold

BACKGROUND

Spinal metastases are commonly seen in patients with cancer and often indicate a poor prognosis. Treatment can include curative or palliative surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The surgical approach varies widely on the basis of the affected region of the spine, the location of the tumor (anterior versus posterior), the goal of surgery, the health of the patient, and surgeon preference.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a case of a 68-year-old male with intractable lower-back pain and substantially diminished ambulation. Diagnostic imaging revealed a lumbar metastasis from a cholangiocarcinoma primary at L2–3 (4.5 cm anteroposterior × 5.7 cm transverse × 7.0 cm craniocaudal). The patient underwent a 2-level vertebrectomy with expandable cage placement and T10 to S2 fusion via a posterior-only approach. The patient regained much of his mobility and quality of life after the surgery.

LESSONS

Although this was a high-risk surgery, the authors show that a posterior-only approach can be used for lumbar vertebrectomies and fusion when necessary. Palliative surgeries carrying a high risk, especially in the setting of a limited prognosis, should include multidisciplinary deliberations and a thorough discussion of the risks and outcome expectations with the patient.

Open access

Intraspinal cervicothoracic junction chondrosarcoma: illustrative case

Matthew T Carr, Margaret Pain, Kevin Kay, and John K Houten

BACKGROUND

Chondrosarcoma is an uncommon spinal tumor that can present as an extraskeletal mass. Rarely, these tumors present as dumbbell tumors through the neural foramina, mimicking schwannomas or neurofibromas.

OBSERVATIONS

A 46-year-old female presented with 2 years of worsening right-arm radiculopathy. Magnetic resonance imaging of the thoracic spine revealed a peripherally enhancing extramedullary mass through the right T1 foramen and compressing the spinal cord. Computed tomography showed the mass to be partially calcified. She underwent C7–T2 laminectomy and C6–T3 posterior instrumented fusion with gross-total resection of an extradural mass. Pathology revealed a grade I chondrosarcoma. Her symptoms improved postoperatively, with some residual right-arm radicular pain.

LESSONS

Intraspinal extradural dumbbell conventional chondrosarcoma is rare, with only 9 cases, including ours, reported. Patient ages range from 16 to 72 years old, and male sex is more common in these cases. The most common location is the thoracic spine, and our case is the only reported one in the cervicothoracic junction. These tumors often mimic schwannomas on imaging, but chondrosarcoma should remain in the differential diagnosis, because management of these tumors differs. Chondrosarcoma may benefit from more aggressive resection, including en bloc resection, and may require adjuvant radiotherapy.

Open access

Rosai-Dorfman disease of the cauda equina: illustrative case

William Mangham, Emal Lesha, Elsa Nico, Kaan Yagmurlu, Christopher P Golembeski, David C Portnoy, and Jason Weaver

BACKGROUND

Rosai-Dorfman disease (RDD) is a rare, nonmalignant histiocytosis. It typically occurs in lymph nodes, skin, and soft tissues, but numerous reports of central nervous system involvement exist in the literature. The peripheral nervous system has rarely been involved. In this study, the authors present a case of RDD isolated to the cauda equina. The presentation, management, surgical technique, and adjunctive treatment strategy are described.

OBSERVATIONS

A 31-year-old female presented with 6 months of progressive left lower-extremity numbness involving the lateral aspect of the foot and weakness of the left toes. Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine demonstrated a homogeneously enhancing intradural lesion involving the cauda equina at the L2–3 levels. Histopathology after resection revealed a histiocytic infiltrate, positive for CD68 and S100, and emperipolesis consistent with RDD. No adjuvant therapy was administered, and the patient had full remission at the 1-year follow-up. Only five other cases of intradural RDD lesions of the cauda equina have been reported in the literature.

LESSONS

RDD of the cauda equina is an especially rare and challenging diagnosis that can mimic other dura-based lesions, such as meningiomas. A definitive diagnosis of RDD relies on pathognomonic histopathological and immunohistochemical findings.

Open access

Primary intradural extraosseous Ewing’s sarcoma of the L3 nerve root: illustrative case

John D Arena, Saurabh Sinha, Connor Wathen, Yohannes Ghenbot, Paul J Zhang, and William C Welch

BACKGROUND

Ewing’s sarcoma is an uncommon, aggressive malignancy that typically presents as an osseous lesion, most commonly in children and adolescents. Very rarely Ewing’s sarcoma can present as an intradural extramedullary mass mimicking more common tumors.

OBSERVATIONS

A 32-year-old female had a left L3 nerve root–associated lesion identified in the setting of recent-onset radiculopathy. Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine was favored to demonstrate a schwannoma or neurofibroma. Hemilaminectomy, facetectomy, and resection of the mass led to improved radiculopathy and a tissue diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma. Immediate referral to medical oncology facilitated expeditious initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation.

LESSONS

The differential diagnosis for newly identified nerve root–associated tumors should remain broad, including common benign pathologies and rare malignant entities. Tissue remains the gold standard for diagnosis, as preoperative imaging suggested a nerve sheath tumor. Malignant pathologies such as Ewing’s sarcoma must be considered, especially in the setting of rapidly progressive symptoms or interval growth on serial imaging. Early diagnosis allows for the timely initiation of comprehensive oncological care. Long-term multidisciplinary follow-up is necessary for the surveillance of disease progression.

Open access

Angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma: primary intracranial lesion with thoracic spine metastasis and a malignant course. Illustrative case

Audrey Demand, Sean Barber, Suzanne Powell, and Gavin Britz

BACKGROUND

Angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma (AFH) is an exceptionally rare soft tissue neoplasm. This tumor primarily presents as a benign soft tissue lesion in children with an average age of 14 years. The standard treatment regimen is wide local excision with interval follow-up. However, newer reports have demonstrated malignant potential with the possibility of intracranial metastasis.

OBSERVATIONS

A 45-year-old male with no soft tissue primary tumor presented with a primary intracranial lesion and thoracic spine metastasis refractory to chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

LESSONS

This report illustrates the potential for a highly malignant nature of metastatic AFH. In addition, the authors demonstrate an incidence of AFH in a middle-aged male without a primary soft tissue or skin lesion. This report highlights the importance of prompt treatment and excision for AFH, as there is still little understanding of successful options for systemic therapy.

Open access

Spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain treatment following sacral chordoma resection: illustrative case

Khaled M Taghlabi, Taimur Hassan, Isuru A Somawardana, Sibi Rajendran, Ahmed Doomi, Lokeshwar S Bhenderu, Jesus G Cruz-Garza, and Amir H Faraji

BACKGROUND

Cancer-related or postoperative pain can occur following sacral chordoma resection. Despite a lack of current recommendations for cancer pain treatment, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has demonstrated effectiveness in addressing cancer-related pain.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old female with a sacral chordoma underwent anterior osteotomies and partial en bloc sacrectomy. She subsequently presented with chronic pain affecting both buttocks and posterior thighs and legs, significantly impeding her daily activities. She underwent a staged epidural SCS paddle trial and permanent system placement using intraoperative neuromonitoring. The utilization of percutaneous leads was not viable because of her history of spinal fluid leakage, multiple lumbosacral surgeries, and previous complex plastic surgery closure. The patient reported a 62.5% improvement in her lower-extremity pain per the modified Quadruple Visual Analog Scale and a 50% improvement in the modified Pain and Sleep Questionnaire 3-item index during the SCS trial. Following permanent SCS system placement and removal of her externalized lead extenders, she had an uncomplicated postoperative course and reported notable improvements in her pain symptoms.

LESSONS

This case provides a compelling illustration of the successful treatment of chronic pain using SCS following radical sacral chordoma resection. Surgeons may consider this treatment approach in patients presenting with refractory pain following spinal tumor resection.

Open access

Long-term survival after cordectomy in a case of spinal cord diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered: illustrative case

Daisuke Sato, Hirokazu Takami, Shota Tanaka, Shunsaku Takayanagi, Masako Ikemura, and Nobuhito Saito

BACKGROUND

Spinal cord diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered, is an extremely rare entity with a poor prognosis. However, its optimal treatment remains poorly defined. Although cordectomy was introduced in the early 20th century, its efficacy has been questioned and shrouded behind the scenes.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old male with recent-onset paraparesis of the lower extremities and paresthesia presented to our outpatient clinic. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an intra-axial spinal cord tumor extending from T12 to L2. The patient underwent laminectomy and partial tumor resection, and the surgical specimen was histologically diagnosed as a diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered. Although standard chemoradiotherapy was implemented, the patient experienced local tumor recurrence 2 years later and underwent cordectomy at T9. The patient was alive at the 4-year follow-up after cordectomy without tumor recurrence. According to the literature, patients with lesions in the lower thoracic cord below T8 achieved a longer survival than those with lesions in the upper thoracic cord above T5.

LESSONS

Cordectomy benefits selected cases of high-grade spinal cord gliomas. Maximal prevention of cerebrospinal fluid dissemination by tumor cells is indisputably important, and tumors located below the lower thoracic spine may be the key to success in establishing a long-term prognosis after cordectomy.

Open access

Genomic characterization of an esthesioneuroblastoma with spinal metastases: illustrative case

Bianca M Marin, Nathan K Leclair, Erica Shen, Avery Buehler, Upendra P Hegde, Qian Wu, Kevin Becker, Lei Li, Seth Brown, Leo J Wolansky, Hilary Onyiuke, David Choi, and Ketan R Bulsara

BACKGROUND

Esthesioneuroblastoma (ENB) is a rare neoplasm of the sinonasal tract. Currently, the optimal treatment includes maximal resection combined with radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. Although ENBs often recur and have an aggressive clinical course, spinal metastases are extremely rare and the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood.

OBSERVATIONS

Here, the authors describe a 50-year-old male with an aggressive ENB, initially treated with resection and chemotherapy/radiation, who developed multiple thoracic and lumbar spinal metastases. The authors performed targeted exome sequencing on both the resected primary tumor and biopsied spinal metastases, which revealed 12 total variants of unknown clinical significance in genes associated with the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, chromatin remodeling, DNA repair, and cell proliferation. Six of these variants were restricted to the metastatic lesion and included missense mutations with predicted functional effects in GRM3, DNMT3B, PLCG2, and SPEN.

LESSONS

This report discusses the potential impact of these variants on tumor progression and metastasis, as well as the implications for identifying potential new biomarkers and therapies.