Anaplastic extramedullary cervical ependymoma with leptomeningeal metastasis.

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We present a rare extramedullary ependymoma with diffuse spinal metastatic disease, and review the previous reports of extramedullary spinal ependymomas. Ependymomas are the most common intramedullary spinal cord tumor in adults. These tumors rarely present as extramedullary masses. We treated a 23-year-old man with a history of progressive neck, shoulder and arm pain, with sensory and motor symptoms in the C7 dermatome. MRI of the cervical spine demonstrated a ventral contrast-enhancing lesion with evidence of enhancement along the dura and spinal cord of the upper cervical spine, thoracic spine, and cauda equina. He underwent a tumor debulking procedure without complications. Following surgery, he received craniospinal radiation to treat the remaining tumor and diffuse leptomeningeal disease. The final pathology of the tumor revealed that is was a World Health Organization Grade III anaplastic ependymoma. At the 1 year follow-up, the patient had stable imaging and had returned to his preoperative functional status. Of the 19 reported patients with primary intradural, extramedullary spinal ependymomas, two had extradural components and seven had anaplastic grades. Only one tumor with an anaplastic grade resulted in metastatic disease, but without spinal recurrence. To our knowledge, this is the first report of an intradural, extramedullary spinal ependymoma with an anaplastic grade, presenting with concomitant diffuse, nodular leptomeningeal metastasis involving the upper cervical spine, thoracic spine, conus medullaris, and cauda equina. Similar to the treatment of intramedullary ependymomas with metastasis, this patient underwent an aggressive debulking procedure followed by radiation therapy to the entire neuroaxis.





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Pomeraniec, IJ, RF Dallapiazza, HM Sumner, MB Lopes, CI Shaffrey and JS Smith (2015). Anaplastic extramedullary cervical ependymoma with leptomeningeal metastasis. Journal of clinical neuroscience : official journal of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia, 22(12). pp. 1871–1876. 10.1016/j.jocn.2015.06.015 Retrieved from

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Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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