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Eve C. Tsai, Stephen Santoreneos and James T. Rutka

Although many treatment strategies for skull base tumors in adults have been reported, relatively little has been reported regarding such therapies in the pediatric population. Skull base tumors in children present a therapeutic challenge because of their unique pathological composition, the constraints of the maturing skull and brain, and the small size of the patients. In this review, the authors examine the pediatric skull base lesions that occur in the anterior, middle, and posterior cranial base, focusing on unique pediatric tumors such as encepahalocele, fibrous dysplasia, esthesioneuroblastoma, craniopharyngioma, juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma, cholesteatoma, chordoma, chondrosarcoma, and Ewing sarcoma. They review management strategies that include radio- and chemotherapy, as well as surgical approaches with emphasis on the modifications and complications associated with the procedures as they apply in children. Evidence for the advantages and limitations of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery as it pertains to the pediatric population will be examined. With a working knowledge of skull base anatomy and special considerations of the developing craniofacial skeleton, neurosurgeons can treat skull base lesions in children with acceptable morbidity and mortality rates. Outcomes in this population may be better than those in adults, in part because of the benign histopathology that frequently affects the pediatric skull base, as well as the plasticity of the maturing nervous system.

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Jason K. Wasserman, Eve C. Tsai, Rafael Glikstein, Kien T. Mai and Gerard H. Jansen

Peripheral nerve tumors are soft-tissue tumors that can occur in any nerve throughout the body. The majority of peripheral nerve tumors arise from elements of the nerve sheath with the two most common being neurofibromas and schwannomas. More than 90% of all peripheral nerve tumors are benign. When there is peripheral nerve involvement in metastatic carcinoma, it is often via contiguous spread from the primary mass; hematogenous seeding to a peripheral nerve is seldom seen. In this report the authors describe the even rarer case of metastatic renal cell carcinoma mimicking a schwannoma in a dorsal root ganglion. Cases from the literature show the rarity of this finding and its late clinical appearance. Given that survival in patients with metastatic carcinoma continues to increase, dorsal root ganglion metastasis may become more common over time.

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José Enrique Cohen, Howard J. Ginsberg, Eve C. Tsai, Michael L. Schwartz and Sergio Petrocelli