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White epidermoid cyst transformation after stereotactic radiosurgery: illustrative case

Hideki Matsumoto, Yuki Shinya, Satoru Miyawaki, Masahiro Shin, Satoshi Koizumi, Daisuke Sato, Munetoshi Hinata, Masako Ikemura, Satoshi Kiyofuji, Taich Kin, Mototaro Iwanaga, Masahiro Shimizu, Hirofumi Nakatomi, and Nobuhito Saito


White epidermoid cysts (WECs) are a rare type of epidermoid cyst with atypical radiological features. The epidemiological aspects and mechanisms of their onset remain unknown. Herein, the authors report a unique case of WEC transformation from a typical epidermoid cyst after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), confirmed by radiological and pathological findings.


The case involved a 78-year-old man with a history of 2 surgeries for a left cerebellopontine angle typical epidermoid cyst 23 years earlier and SRS using the CyberKnife for recurrent trigeminal neuralgia (TN) 14 years earlier. The tumor with high intensity on T1-weighted imaging, low intensity on T2-weighted imaging, without restriction on diffusion-weighted imaging had gradually enlarged after SRS. Therefore, a salvage surgery was performed via a left suboccipital craniotomy, and the intraoperative findings showed a cyst with a brown, viscous liquid component, consistent with those of WECs. Histopathologically, keratin calcification and hemorrhage were identified, leading to a diagnosis of WEC. The postoperative course was uneventful, and the TN resolved. No tumor recurrence was recorded at 2 years postoperatively.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first world case of WEC transformation from a typical epidermoid cyst after SRS, confirmed by radiological and pathological findings. Radiation effects could have been involved in this transformation.