Spinal Ependymoma

Are you familiar with the term “Spinal Ependymoma”? Ependymomas are tumors that come from the ependymal cells which are found in the central nervous system. These tumors were first described by Bailey in year 1924. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified these tumors based of course of its histologic appearance. The classification is as follows – Grade I (myxopapillary ependymoma and subependymoma), Grade II (ependymoma), and Grade III (anaplastic ependymoma).

Spinal Ependymoma are slow growing tumors which come from the cells that line the central canal of the spinal cord. Most of these tumors are present in the cervical or thoracic cord (Journal of Neuro-Oncology 2006).

Because it is a slow growing tumor it might take time before it is diagnose not until an individual seek treatment for back pain and even paralysis. Most doctors would require one to have an MRI and that is the time that such condition is seen. That is why because of the slow growth of this tumors, it leads patients to suffer from pain for quite a long time before appropriate treatment is given.

Treatment should be started as soon as it is diagnosed for there is always a risk that the tumor can rupture which may result to complication in the cerebral fluid, infection and even permanent paralysis. Most form of treatment for this condition is surgery.

Spinal cord ependymoma is a quite rare tumor that is why management of such disease is not well established. There is one study that makes a retrospective analysis on patients that are treated with this malignancy. 14 patients were retrospectively analyzed, ten of which are men and four are women whose aged are from 8 to 58 years old. All of the patients were treated with surgery and a postoperative radiotherapy is given to 12 patients. The result showed patient’s radiotherapy right after subtotal resection has a ninety-two percent long term survival (Journal of Radiotherapy in Practice 2005).