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Updates on the diagnosis and treatment of intracranial nerve malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors

Authors L'Heureux-Lebeau B, Saliba I

Received 10 December 2012

Accepted for publication 7 March 2013

Published 26 April 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 459—470


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Bénédicte L'Heureux-Lebeau,1 Issam Saliba2

1University of Montreal, 2Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Montreal University Hospital Center (CHUM), University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Background: Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are rare entities and MPNSTs of intracranial nerves are even more sporadic. MPNSTs present diagnosis and treatment challenges since there are no defined diagnosis criteria and no established therapeutic strategies.
Methods: We reviewed literature for MPNST-related articles. We found 45 relevant studies in which 60 cases were described.
Results: We identified 60 cases of intracranial nerve MPNSTs. The age ranged from 3 to 75 years old. Male to female ratio was 1.5:1. The most involved cranial nerves (CNs) were CN VIII (60%), CN V (27%), and CN VII (10%). Most of the MPNSTs reported (47%) arose sporadically, 40% arose from a schwannoma, 8% arose from a neurofibroma, and 6% arose from an unspecified nerve tumor. Twenty patients had a history of radiation exposure, four patients had neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), four patients had neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), and NF2 was suspected in two other patients. Twenty-two patients were treated with radiotherapy and presented a higher survival rate. Seventy-two percent of patients died of their disease while 28% of patients survived. One-year survival rate was 33%. Forty-five percent of tumors recurred and 19% of patients had metastases.
Conclusion: MPNSTs involving CNs are very rare. Diagnosis is made in regards to the histological and pathological findings. Imaging may help orient the diagnosis. A preexisting knowledge of the clinical situation is more likely to lead to a correct diagnosis. The mainstay of treatment is radical surgical resection with adjuvant radiotherapy. Since these tumors are associated with a poor prognosis, a close follow-up is mandatory.

Keywords: malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor, MPNST, neurofibroma, malignant schwannoma

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