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Dilys M. Parry


The authors conducted a study to examine the incidence, classification, and progression of spinal tumors in patients with neu-rofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) treated at a single center, and to examine relationships with the known mutational subtypes of NF2.


They performed a retrospective review of clinical records, neuroimaging studies, and genetic data obtained in 61 patients with NF2.

Forty-one (67%) of 61 patients harbored one or more spinal tumors. Thirty-four patients had undergone serial spinal magnetic resonance imaging during a mean follow-up period of 52 months (range 10–103 months; median 53 months). In 16 patients there were multiple extramedullary tumors smaller than 5 mm, which did not progress. Fourteen patients harbored at least one extramedullary tumor that was greater than 5 mm; of these, radiological progression was demonstrated or spinal tumor excision was performed during the follow-up period in eight cases (57%). Eleven patients harbored intramedullary cord tumors in addition to small and large extramedullary tumors, three (27%) of which exhibited radiological progression. In cases in which genotypes were known, protein-truncating mutations were significantly more likely to be associated with the presence of spinal tumors than in other types (p = 0.03, Fisher exact test). No associations between clinical behavior of spinal tumors and genotype, however, could be demonstrated.


Spinal tumors in cases involving NF2 are heterogeneous in type, distribution, and behavior but larger-size tumors are more likely to progress significantly. Intramedullary tumors usually accompany multiple extramedullary tumors. In the authors' experience subtyping of the NF2 mutation has not yet influenced management. Protein-truncating mutations are associated with an increased prevalence of spinal tumors.

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Michael E. Baser, Erini V. Makariou and Dilys M. Parry

Object. The results of two longitudinal studies of growth rates of vestibular schwannomas (VSs) in patients with neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) differ as to whether VS growth rates decrease or increase with increasing patient age. The authors undertook this study to assess the relationship between VS growth rates and patient age and type of constitutional NF2 mutation; they also examined variability in VS growth rates among multiple patients in families with NF2.

Methods. Gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance images obtained in 18 patients with inherited NF2 from 11 unrelated families were retrospectively analyzed. The patients had been observed for a median of 4 years. Volumes of the VSs were measured using a two-component box model (intrameatal and extrameatal parts measured separately). Single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and Southern blot analysis were used to identify constitutional NF2 mutations. Growth rates of the VSs were highly variable, but tended to decrease with increasing patient age both at onset of signs or symptoms of NF2 (r2 = 0.35, p = 0.026) and at diagnosis (r2 = 0.33, p = 0.012). The VS growth rates did not vary significantly with the type of constitutional NF2 mutation or the number of non-VS cerebral or spinal tumors. The VS growth rates were highly variable within families and did not correspond to clinical indices of NF2 disease severity, such as patient age at symptom onset and the number of non-VS cerebral and spinal tumors.

Conclusions. The growth rates of VSs in patients with NF2 are highly variable, but tend to decrease with increasing patient age. Clinical treatment of multiple patients in families with NF2 cannot be based on the expectations of similar VS growth rates, even when other clinical aspects of disease severity are similar.

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Dilys M. Parry, Mary L. McMaster, Norbert J. Liebsch, Nicholas J. Patronas, Martha M. Quezado, Deborah Zametkin, Xiaohong R. Yang and Alisa M. Goldstein


To gain insight into the role of germline genetics in the development of chordoma, the authors evaluated data from 2 sets of patients with familial chordoma, those with and without a germline duplication of the T gene (T-dup+ vs T-dup−), which was previously identified as a susceptibility mechanism in some families. The authors then compared the patients with familial tumors to patients with sporadic chordoma in the US general population reported to the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program through 2015.


Evaluation of family members included review of personal and family medical history, physical and neurological examination, and pre- and postcontrast MRI of the skull base and spine. Sixteen patients from 6 white families with chordoma had a chordoma diagnosis at family referral. Screening MR images of 35 relatives revealed clival lesions in 6, 4 of which were excised and confirmed to be chordoma. Thus, data were available for 20 patients with histologically confirmed familial chordoma. There were 1759 patients with histologically confirmed chordoma in SEER whose race was known.


The median age at chordoma diagnosis differed across the groups: it was lowest in T-dup+ familial patients (26.8 years, range 5.3–68.4 years); intermediate in T-dup− patients (46.2 years, range 11.8–60.1 years); and highest in SEER patients (57 years, range 0–98 years). There was a marked preponderance of skull base tumors in patients with familial chordoma (93% in T-dup+ and 83% in T-dup−) versus 38% in the SEER program (37% in white, 53% in black, and 48.5% in Asian/Pacific Islander/American Indian/Alaska Native patients). Furthermore, 29% of white and 16%–17% of nonwhite SEER patients had mobile-spine chordoma, versus no patients in the familial group. Several T-dup+ familial chordoma patients had putative second/multiple primary chordomas.


The occurrence of young age at diagnosis, skull base presentation, or multiple primary chordomas should encourage careful review of family history for patients diagnosed with chordoma as well as screening of at-risk family members by MRI for early detection of chordoma. Furthermore, given genetic predisposition in some patients with familial chordoma, identification of a specific mutation in a family will permit surveillance to be limited to mutation carriers—and consideration should be given for imaging the entire neuraxis in any chordoma patient presenting at an early age or with a blood relative with chordoma. Finally, future studies should explore racial differences in age at diagnosis and presenting site in chordoma.