Neurofibromatosis type 2: growth stimulation of mixed acoustic schwannoma by concurrent adjacent meningioma: possible role of growth factors

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The authors report the case of a young man suffering from neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) who harbored bilateral acoustic schwannomas and a parasellar meningioma. Neuroimaging studies performed during a 4-year follow-up period showed that the bilateral schwannomas had grown very little and at similar rates. However, after the meningioma had infiltrated the tentorium and approached the ipsilateral schwannoma at the incisura, both Schwann cell tumors started to grow rapidly, particularly the one adjacent to the meningioma, of which the percentage of annual growth rate increased by approximately a factor of 102. At the same time, magnetic resonance imaging showed that this tumor also changed its features. During surgery, the acoustic schwannoma was firmly adherent to both meningioma and tentorium. Histological examination revealed meningotheliomatous cells in the schwannoma adjacent to the meningioma. Antiphosphotyrosine immunoblotting of PC12 cells was compatible with the presence of an epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like molecule in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the patient. This factor was not detected in the CSF of five other NF2 patients, two of whom bore associated bilateral acoustic schwannomas and meningioma in remote locations. It is hypothesized that the meningotheliomatous cells infiltrating the schwannoma triggered an autocrine/paracrine growth-stimulatory mechanism that involved an EGF-like factor.

The authors report the case of a young man suffering from neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) who harbored bilateral acoustic schwannomas and a parasellar meningioma. Neuroimaging studies performed during a 4-year follow-up period showed that the bilateral schwannomas had grown very little and at similar rates. However, after the meningioma had infiltrated the tentorium and approached the ipsilateral schwannoma at the incisura, both Schwann cell tumors started to grow rapidly, particularly the one adjacent to the meningioma, of which the percentage of annual growth rate increased by approximately a factor of 102. At the same time, magnetic resonance imaging showed that this tumor also changed its features. During surgery, the acoustic schwannoma was firmly adherent to both meningioma and tentorium. Histological examination revealed meningotheliomatous cells in the schwannoma adjacent to the meningioma. Antiphosphotyrosine immunoblotting of PC12 cells was compatible with the presence of an epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like molecule in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the patient. This factor was not detected in the CSF of five other NF2 patients, two of whom bore associated bilateral acoustic schwannomas and meningioma in remote locations. It is hypothesized that the meningotheliomatous cells infiltrating the schwannoma triggered an autocrine/paracrine growth-stimulatory mechanism that involved an EGF-like factor.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Roberto Pallini, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, Catholic University School of Medicine, Largo A. Gemelli 8, 00168 Rome, Italy.

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