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J Neurosurg Spine. 2005 May;2(5):574-9.

Spinal tumors in neurofibromatosis type 2. Is emerging knowledge of genotype predictive of natural history?

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Department of Neurosurgery, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, United Kingdom.



The authors conducted a study to examine the incidence, classification, and progression of spinal tumors in patients with neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) treated at a single center, and to examine relationships with the known mutational subtypes of NF2.


They performed a retrospective review of clinical records, neuroimaging studies, and genetic data obtained in 61 patients with NF2. Forty-one (67%) of 61 patients harbored one or more spinal tumors. Thirty-four patients had undergone serial spinal magnetic resonance imaging during a mean follow-up period of 52 months (range 10-103 months; median 53 months). In 16 patients there were multiple extramedullary tumors smaller than 5 mm, which did not progress. Fourteen patients harbored at least one extramedullary tumor that was greater than 5 mm; of these, radiological progression was demonstrated or spinal tumor excision was performed during the follow-up period in eight cases (57%). Eleven patients harbored intramedullary cord tumors in addition to small and large extramedullary tumors, three (27%) of which exhibited radiological progression. In cases in which genotypes were known, protein-truncating mutations were significantly more likely to be associated with the presence of spinal tumors than in other types (p = 0.03, Fisher exact test). No associations between clinical behavior of spinal tumors and genotype, however, could be demonstrated.


Spinal tumors in cases involving NF2 are heterogeneous in type, distribution, and behavior but larger-size tumors are more likely to progress significantly. Intramedullary tumors usually accompany multiple extramedullary tumors. In the authors' experience subtyping of the NF2 mutation has not yet influenced management. Protein-truncating mutations are associated with an increased prevalence of spinal tumors.

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