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Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Oct;98(43):e17610. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000017610.

Successful treatment of a primary thoracic dumb-bell yolk sac tumor presenting with severe spinal cord compression: Case report.

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Department of Orthopedics, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong Province, China.



Primary thoracic dumb-bell yolk sac tumor (YST) with both epidural and extraspinal extension is a rare disease with no standard curative managements yet. The objective of this study is to report a primary thoracic dumb-bell YST presenting with severe spinal cord compression successfully treated with posterior-only approach operation, followed by chemotherapy. The management of these unique cases has not been fully documented.


A 26-mounth-old, previously healthy girl presented with progressive numbness and weakness of the lower extremities. Neurological examination revealed paralysis of both lower extremities, sensory disturbance below T-8 and bladder-bowel dysfunction.


CT and MRI of spine showed a dumb-bell mass lesion with both epidural and extraspinal extension through enlarged intervertebral foramina and marked spinal cord compression at T7-T9. The AFP level was 13738 ng/ml. Preoperative puncture and Postoperative pathology confirmed the diagnosis of YST.


By needle biopsy, we identified the pathological diagnosis is YST. Subsequently, the patient was treated with one-stage posterior-only approach operation, followed by 9 courses of chemotherapy based on cisplatin, bleomycin, etoposide.


The patient has a complete neurologic recovery and remains recurrence free as of more than 2 years after the completion of operation. There were no other complications associated with the operation during the follow-up period.


YST should be considered in the range of children with thoracic dumb-bell tumor presenting with spinal cord compression. Needle biopsy is valuable for preoperative diagnosis and design of the treatment strategy. If there is no evidence of CSF spread, metastasis or multiple diseases, it is effective to remove tumors as thoroughly as possible immediately, avoid further nerve injury and conduct enough chemotherapy. This case suggests that this treatment strategy is an effective option for primary YST with both epidural and extraspinal extension and severe spinal cord compression.

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