Management of metastatic tumors invading the peripheral nervous system

John Gachiani M.D., Daniel H. Kim M.D., Adriane Nelson M.D., and David Kline M.D.
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Object

The authors present the results of a retrospective review of 37 surgically treated metastases to nerve (malignant peripheral non–neural sheath nerve tumors). Tumor frequencies, presentations, management, and prognosis are discussed.

Methods

Thirty-seven patients who were treated for metastases to nerve between 1969 and 2006 at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center were identified in a review of patient records. Notes regarding patient history and physical examination findings were reviewed to provide information on presenting symptoms and signs. Imaging and histopathological examination results were also reviewed. Cases were analyzed depending on the primary tumor and the location of metastasis.

Results

There included 37 surgically treated lesions, 16 of which originated in the breast and 10 of which originated in the lung. In two cases melanomas had metastasized to nerve, and one tumor each had metastasized from the bladder, rectum, skin, head and neck, and thyroid, and from a primary Ewing sarcoma. There was a single lymphoma that had metastasized to the radial nerve and one chordoma and one osteosarcoma, each of which had metastasized to the brachial plexus.

Conclusions

The nervous system is involved in numerous ways by oncological process. Direct involvement of the peripheral nervous system occurs mostly from direct extension, although it occasionally occurs because of distant spread from the primary tumor to nerve. Surgical excision of the metastatic lesion with margins has been useful mostly in the control of pain. Nevertheless, patients eventually succumb to their primary malignancy.

Abbreviations used in this paper:

LSUHSC = Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; PNS = peripheral nervous system.

Object

The authors present the results of a retrospective review of 37 surgically treated metastases to nerve (malignant peripheral non–neural sheath nerve tumors). Tumor frequencies, presentations, management, and prognosis are discussed.

Methods

Thirty-seven patients who were treated for metastases to nerve between 1969 and 2006 at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center were identified in a review of patient records. Notes regarding patient history and physical examination findings were reviewed to provide information on presenting symptoms and signs. Imaging and histopathological examination results were also reviewed. Cases were analyzed depending on the primary tumor and the location of metastasis.

Results

There included 37 surgically treated lesions, 16 of which originated in the breast and 10 of which originated in the lung. In two cases melanomas had metastasized to nerve, and one tumor each had metastasized from the bladder, rectum, skin, head and neck, and thyroid, and from a primary Ewing sarcoma. There was a single lymphoma that had metastasized to the radial nerve and one chordoma and one osteosarcoma, each of which had metastasized to the brachial plexus.

Conclusions

The nervous system is involved in numerous ways by oncological process. Direct involvement of the peripheral nervous system occurs mostly from direct extension, although it occasionally occurs because of distant spread from the primary tumor to nerve. Surgical excision of the metastatic lesion with margins has been useful mostly in the control of pain. Nevertheless, patients eventually succumb to their primary malignancy.

Abbreviations used in this paper:

LSUHSC = Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; PNS = peripheral nervous system.

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