Intramedullary spinal cord metastases: MRI and relevant clinical features from a 13-year institutional case series

J. B. Rykken, Felix E. Diehn, C. H. Hunt, K. M. Schwartz, L. J. Eckel, C. P. Wood, T. J. Kaufmann, R. K. Lingineni, R. E. Carter, J. T. Wald

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30 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Because intramedullary spinal cord metastasis is often a difficult diagnosis to make, our purpose was to perform a systematic review of the MR imaging and relevant baseline clinical features of intramedullary spinal cord metastases in a large series. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Consecutive patients with intramedullary spinal cord metastasis with available pretreatment digital MR imaging examinations were identified. The MR imaging examination(s) for each patient was reviewed by 2 neuroradiologists for various imaging characteristics. Relevant clinical data were obtained. RESULTS: Forty-nine patients had 70 intramedullary spinal cord metastases, with 10 (20%) having multiple intramedullary spinal cord metastases; 8% (4/49) were asymptomatic. Primary tumor diagnosis was preceded by intramedullary spinal cord metastasis presentation in 20% (10/49) and by intramedullary spinal cord metastasis diagnosis in 10% (5/49); 98% (63/64) of intramedullary spinal cord metastases enhanced. Cord edema was extensive: mean, 4.5 segments, 3.6-fold larger than enhancing lesion, and ≥3 segments in 54% (37/69). Intratumoral cystic change was seen in 3% (2/70) and hemorrhage in 1% (1/70); 59% (29/49) of reference MR imaging examinations displayed other CNS or spinal (non-spinal cord) metastases, and 59% (29/49) exhibited the primary tumor/non-CNS metastases, with 88% (43/49) displaying ≥1 finding and 31% (15/49) displaying both findings. Patients with solitary intramedullary spinal cord metastasis were less likely than those with multiple intramedullary spinal cord metastases to have other CNS or spinal (non-spinal cord) metastases on the reference MR imaging (20/39 [51%] versus 9/10 [90%], respectively; P = .0263). CONCLUSIONS: Lack of known primary malignancy or spinal cord symptoms should not discourage consideration of intramedullary spinal cord metastasis. Enhancement and extensive edema for lesion size (often ≥3 segments) are typical for intramedullary spinal cord metastasis. Presence of cystic change/hemorrhage makes intramedullary spinal cord metastasis unlikely. Evidence for other CNS or spinal (non-spinal cord) metastases and the primary tumor/non-CNS metastases are common. The prevalence of other CNS or spinal (non-spinal cord) metastases in those with multiple intramedullary spinal cord metastases is especially high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2043-2049
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Volume34
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology

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    Rykken, J. B., Diehn, F. E., Hunt, C. H., Schwartz, K. M., Eckel, L. J., Wood, C. P., Kaufmann, T. J., Lingineni, R. K., Carter, R. E., & Wald, J. T. (2013). Intramedullary spinal cord metastases: MRI and relevant clinical features from a 13-year institutional case series. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 34(10), 2043-2049. https://doi.org/10.3174/ajnr.A3526