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Michael C. Oh, Eli T. Sayegh, Michael Safaee, Matthew Z. Sun, Gurvinder Kaur, Joseph M. Kim, Derick Aranda, Annette M. Molinaro, Nalin Gupta and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Ependymoma is a common CNS tumor in children, with spinal cord ependymomas making up 13.1% of all ependymomas in this age group. The clinical features that affect prognosis in pediatric spinal cord ependymomas are not well understood. A comprehensive literature review was performed to determine whether a tumor location along the spinal cord is prognostically significant in children undergoing surgery for spinal cord ependymomas.

Methods

A PubMed search was performed to identify all papers that contained data on patients with spinal cord ependymomas. Only pediatric patients (age < 18 years) who underwent resection with a clearly reported tumor location were included in the analysis. Myxopapillary tumors were excluded from study. Tumor location was subdivided into 6 regions: cervicomedullary, cervical, cervicothoracic, thoracic, thoracolumbar, and conus medullaris. Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox regression analyses were performed to determine the effects of tumor location on progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results

Fifty-eight patients who underwent resection of spinal cord ependymomas were identified. Ependymomas were located all along the spinal cord but occurred with the highest frequency in the cervical region (29.3%). Progression-free survival was significantly better in patients with tumors arising in the upper portion of the spinal cord (p = 0.031), which remained significant in the multivariate Cox regression analysis (p < 0.05). Moreover, OS was significantly better in patients with upper spinal cord ependymomas than in those harboring ependymomas in the lower spinal cord (p = 0.048).

Conclusions

Although more common in adults, spinal ependymomas can occur anywhere along the spinal cord in the pediatric population; however, tumors occurring in the lower half of the spinal cord carry a worse prognosis with shorter PFS and OS. By comparison, ependymomas in the upper spinal cord recur later and less frequently, with little or no mortality in this patient group.

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Michael C. Oh, Joseph M. Kim, Gurvinder Kaur, Michael Safaee, Matthew Z. Sun, Anahat Singh, Derick Aranda, Annette M. Molinaro and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Ependymomas are primary central nervous system tumors that occur more frequently in the spines of adults than they do there in children. Previous studies consist mainly of retrospective single-institutional experiences or case studies. In this study, a comprehensive literature review was performed on reported cases of spinal ependymoma treated with resection to determine whether tumor location along the spinal axis conveys important prognostic information.

Methods

A PubMed search was performed to identify all papers that included data on patients with spinal ependymoma. Only cases involving adult patients who underwent ependymoma resection with a clearly reported tumor location were included for analysis. Tumor locations were separated into 6 groups: cervicomedullary, cervical, cervicothoracic, thoracic, thoracolumbar, and conus + cauda equina. Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox regression analyses were performed to determine the effect of tumor location on progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results

A total of 447 patients who underwent resection of spinal ependymomas with clearly indicated location of tumor were identified. The most common locations of spinal ependymomas were the cervical (32.0%) and conus + cauda equina (26.8%) regions. The thoracolumbar and cervicomedullary regions had the fewest tumors (accounting for, respectively, 5.1% and 3.4% of the total number of cases). The conus + cauda equina and thoracolumbar regions had the highest percentage of WHO Grade I tumors, while tumors located above these regions consisted of mostly WHO Grade II tumors. Despite the tendency for benign grades in the lower spinal regions, PFS for patients with spinal ependymomas in the lower 3 regions (thoracic, thoracolumbar, conus + cauda equina) was significantly shorter (p < 0.001) than for those with tumors in the upper regions (cervicomedullary, cervical, cervicothoracic), but the difference in OS did not achieve statistical significance (p = 0.131).

Conclusions

Spinal ependymomas along different regions of spinal axis have different characteristics and clinical behaviors. Tumor grade, extent of resection, and PFS varied by tumor location (upper vs lower spinal regions), while OS did not. Recurrence rates were higher for the lower spinal cord tumors, despite a greater prevalence of lower WHO grade lesions, compared with upper spinal cord tumors, suggesting that tumor location along the spinal axis is an important prognostic factor.