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Shoko Merrit Yamada, Yusuke Tomita, Soichiro Shibui, Mikiko Takahashi, Masashi Kawamoto, Sumihito Nobusawa, and Junko Hirato

Astroblastoma is a rare tumor that is thought to occur exclusively in the cerebrum. To the authors’ knowledge, no cases of spinal cord astroblastoma have been reported. A 20-year-old woman presented with numbness in her legs. MRI demonstrated a 2-cm intramedullary enhancing lesion in the spinal cord at the T-1 level. The patient declined to undergo resection of the tumor because she was able to walk unassisted; however, she returned for surgery 1 month later because she had developed paraplegia with bladder and rectal dysfunction, and MRI showed enlargement of the tumor. Intraoperatively, the border between the tumor and normal tissue was poorly defined. Biopsy samples were obtained for histopathological examinations, and a diagnosis of astroblastoma with a Ki-67 index of 5% was made. Considering the rapid tumor growth on MRI and remarkable deterioration in her symptoms, the patient was treated with a combination of radiation therapy, temozolomide (TMZ), and bevacizumab. After completion of the combined treatment, she was able to move her toes, and oral TMZ and bevacizumab injections were continued. Six months later, definite tumor shrinkage was identified on MRI, and the patient was able to stand up from a wheelchair without assistance and walk by herself. No therapeutic regimens for residual astroblastoma are established; however, in this case the authors’ therapeutic strategy was successful in treating the spinal cord astroblastoma.

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Masahiro Sugawa, Kohei Fukuoka, Makiko Mori, Yuki Arakawa, Yutaka Tanami, Sumihito Nobusawa, Junko Hirato, Atsuko Nakazawa, Jun Kurihara, and Katsuyoshi Koh


Embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes (ETMR) is one of the childhood central nervous system tumors with the poorest prognosis; thus, establishing an optimal treatment strategy is essential, However, because of the low incidence and molecular heterogeneity of the tumor, the optimal treatment has not yet been determined. In this study the authors evaluated the prognostic impact of a multimodal treatment approach in patients with ETMR.


The authors evaluated 4 patients with ETMR at their institution who showed varied clinical features and also conducted clinical characterization and prognostic analysis of previously reported cases of the ETMR-presenting locus 19q13.42 with a chromosome 19 microRNA cluster (C19MC) amplification, which is known to be a diagnostic hallmark of the tumor.


Of the 4 patients with ETMR in the authors’ institution, in 1 case the patient’s tumor showed a neuroblastoma-like appearance without multilayered rosettes; however, the diagnosis was confirmed by the presence of amplified C19MC. From a clinical standpoint, 2 patients who underwent gross-total resection (GTR) of the tumor and chemotherapy followed by high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) had long-term complete remission with or without local irradiation. In the multivariate analysis of 43 cases with C19MC-altered ETMR reported in the literature, HDC and local irradiation were significantly correlated with better event-free survival (HR 0.17, p = 0.0087; HR 0.17, p = 0.010) and overall survival (OS) (HR 0.29, p = 0.023; HR 0.28, p = 0.019), respectively. GTR was also correlated with better OS (HR 0.40, p = 0.039).


This case series demonstrated pathological and clinical heterogeneity among ETMR cases and the diagnostic importance of the molecular genetic approach among embryonal tumors, particularly during infancy. Based on the results of the analysis of molecularly uniformed ETMR cases, multimodal treatment may play a significant role in the prognosis of these tumors.