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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2012 May 1;37(10):E629-32. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3182407b0b.

Primary spinal natural killer/T-cell lymphoma successfully treated with concurrent chemoradiotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Republic of Korea.



This case report shows primary natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma originating in the spine as the first case of successful treatment with autologous stem cell transplantation, along with case presentation and literature review.


For the proper treatment of this spinal tumor, the pathologic confirmation includes immunophenotypic profiling, the understanding of tumor characteristics, and the consideration of spinal stability are necessary.


NK/T-cell lymphomas are rare, aggressive neoplastic disorders with a distinctive clinical pathologic profile and an unfavorable clinical prognosis. The extranodal nasal-type NK/T-cell lymphomas, which are characterized by an extranodal presentation and an aggressive clinical course, are prevalent in Asia and Central and South America.


A 49-year-old woman presented with thoracic back pain that developed 3 months before she was admitted to Chung-Ang University. The radiological image showed a 6 × 4 × 5-cm mass lesion within the T6-T7 vertebral body. The histopathology was consistent with the finding of NK/T-cell lymphoma. Treatment with chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone) in combination with radiotherapy (total dose, 30 Gy) was done, and salvage therapy with autologous stem cell transplantation was performed.


Two-year follow-up magnetic resonance image showed shrinking remnant mass without spinal deformation and/or instability. Rebiopsy for remnant mass, nasal area study, and positron emission tomographic scan were performed to determine the tumor recurrence. There was no evidence of recurrence at the 2-year follow-up evaluations.


Some primary NK/T-cell lymphomas that originate at sites other than the nasal cavity/nasopharynx do not present with typical clinical features and symptoms. A primary NK/T-cell lymphoma of the spine should be considered in the differential diagnosis of primary bone tumors. We report the first case of successful treatment with chemoradiotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation in a patient with a primary spinal NK/T-cell lymphoma.

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