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Amol Raheja, Aleksandra Sowder, Cheryl Palmer, Fausto J. Rodriguez and William T. Couldwell

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)–associated smooth muscle tumors (SMTs) have recently been associated with primary and secondary immunodeficiencies. They are broadly divided into 3 subgroups: HIV-related, posttransplant, and congenital immunodeficiency. Subsequent to organ transplantation and acquired immunosuppression, a few cases of EBV-associated SMTs have been described in the liver, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal system. To the authors' knowledge, intracranial involvement after peripheral blood stem cell transplantation has never been reported previously. The authors describe the case of a 65-year-old woman who presented with recent-onset painful ophthalmoplegia. She had a prior history of acute myelogenous leukemia requiring allogenic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation 2 years earlier, but she was in a remission phase. Imaging revealed a T1/T2 isointense, homogeneously enhancing lesion of the left cavernous sinus. A presumptive diagnosis of Tolosa-Hunt syndrome was made, and she was treated with steroids; however, her symptoms progressed quickly and repeat imaging revealed that the lesion was growing. To rule out leukemic deposits, a minimally invasive lateral orbitotomy extradural transcavernous approach was performed for biopsy sampling and debulking of the lesion. The biopsied tumor tissue was found to be infiltrative, grayish, firm, and moderately vascular. The final pathology results indicated an EBV-associated SMT of the cavernous sinus. Subsequently, the patient's steroid treatment was stopped and she had obtained partial symptomatic relief at her last follow-up visit, 3 months after surgery. EBV-associated SMT should be included in the differential diagnosis for intracranial and dural-based central nervous system lesions, especially in immunocompromised patients. Paradoxical response to steroids with worsening of symptoms is a hallmark of EBV-associated SMTs.

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Bernd W. Scheithauer, Fausto J. Rodriguez, Robert J. Spinner, P. James Dyck, Ayman Salem, Fredric L. Edelman, Kimberly K. Amrami and Yao-Shi Fu

✓ As a rule, normal human nerve does not contain glomus bodies. Nonetheless, rare examples of glomus tumors do arise in peripheral nerves of various sizes. Their pathobiological characteristics are poorly understood, but reported examples have been small and clinically benign. The authors identified in 1 patient each a glomus tumor and a glomangioma involving nerve. Clinical histories as well as imaging and surgical findings were reviewed. All available H & E–stained slides were examined in both cases. Immunohistochemical stains and electron microscopy, as appropriate, were also performed. The lesions were subtotally and completely resected, respectively. An uneventful postoperative recovery was noted in both patients. Glomus tumors and glomangiomas can involve major nerves on rare occasions. They seem to follow a favorable clinical course, and conservative resection can be of benefit.

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Rachel Sarabia-Estrada, Alejandro Ruiz-Valls, Sagar R. Shah, A. Karim Ahmed, Alvaro A. Ordonez, Fausto J. Rodriguez, Hugo Guerrero-Cazares, Ismael Jimenez-Estrada, Esteban Velarde, Betty Tyler, Yuxin Li, Neil A. Phillips, C. Rory Goodwin, Rory J. Petteys, Sanjay K. Jain, Gary L. Gallia, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa and Daniel M. Sciubba


Chordoma is a slow-growing, locally aggressive cancer that is minimally responsive to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy and has high local recurrence rates after resection. Currently, there are no rodent models of spinal chordoma. In the present study, the authors sought to develop and characterize an orthotopic model of human chordoma in an immunocompromised rat.


Thirty-four immunocompromised rats were randomly allocated to 4 study groups; 22 of the 34 rats were engrafted in the lumbar spine with human chordoma. The groups were as follows: UCH1 tumor–engrafted (n = 11), JHC7 tumor–engrafted (n = 11), sham surgery (n = 6), and intact control (n = 6) rats. Neurological impairment of rats due to tumor growth was evaluated using open field and locomotion gait analysis; pain response was evaluated using mechanical or thermal paw stimulation. Cone beam CT (CBCT), MRI, and nanoScan PET/CT were performed to evaluate bony changes due to tumor growth. On Day 550, rats were killed and spines were processed for H & E–based histological examination and immunohistochemistry for brachyury, S100β, and cytokeratin.


The spine tumors displayed typical chordoma morphology, that is, physaliferous cells filled with vacuolated cytoplasm of mucoid matrix. Brachyury immunoreactivity was confirmed by immunostaining, in which samples from tumor-engrafted rats showed a strong nuclear signal. Sclerotic lesions in the vertebral body of rats in the UCH1 and JHC7 groups were observed on CBCT. Tumor growth was confirmed using contrast-enhanced MRI. In UCH1 rats, large tumors were observed growing from the vertebral body. JHC7 chordoma–engrafted rats showed smaller tumors confined to the bone periphery compared with UCH1 chordoma–engrafted rats. Locomotion analysis showed a disruption in the normal gait pattern, with an increase in the step length and duration of the gait in tumor-engrafted rats. The distance traveled and the speed of rats in the open field test was significantly reduced in the UCH1 and JHC7 tumor–engrafted rats compared with controls. Nociceptive response to a mechanical stimulus showed a significant (p < 0.001) increase in the paw withdrawal threshold (mechanical hypalgesia). In contrast, the paw withdrawal response to a thermal stimulus decreased significantly (p < 0.05) in tumor-engrafted rats.


The authors developed an orthotopic human chordoma model in rats. Rats were followed for 550 days using imaging techniques, including MRI, CBCT, and nanoScan PET/CT, to evaluate lesion progression and bony integrity. Nociceptive evaluations and locomotion analysis were performed during follow-up. This model reproduces cardinal signs, such as locomotor and sensory deficits, similar to those observed clinically in human patients. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first spine rodent model of human chordoma. Its use and further study will be essential for pathophysiology research and the development of new therapeutic strategies.