ObjectEpendymoma is a common CNS tumor in children, with spinal cord ependymomas making up 13.1% of all ependymomas in this age group. The clinical features that affect prognosis in pediatric spinal cord ependymomas are not well understood. A comprehensive literature review was performed to determine whether a tumor location along the spinal cord is prognostically significant in children undergoing surgery for spinal cord ependymomas.
MethodsA PubMed search was performed to identify all papers that contained data on patients with spinal cord ependymomas. Only pediatric patients (age < 18 years) who underwent resection with a clearly reported tumor location were included in the analysis. Myxopapillary tumors were excluded from study. Tumor location was subdivided into 6 regions: cervicomedullary, cervical, cervicothoracic, thoracic, thoracolumbar, and conus medullaris. Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox regression analyses were performed to determine the effects of tumor location on progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).
ResultsFifty-eight patients who underwent resection of spinal cord ependymomas were identified. Ependymomas were located all along the spinal cord but occurred with the highest frequency in the cervical region (29.3%). Progression-free survival was significantly better in patients with tumors arising in the upper portion of the spinal cord (p = 0.031), which remained significant in the multivariate Cox regression analysis (p < 0.05). Moreover, OS was significantly better in patients with upper spinal cord ependymomas than in those harboring ependymomas in the lower spinal cord (p = 0.048).
ConclusionsAlthough more common in adults, spinal ependymomas can occur anywhere along the spinal cord in the pediatric population; however, tumors occurring in the lower half of the spinal cord carry a worse prognosis with shorter PFS and OS. By comparison, ependymomas in the upper spinal cord recur later and less frequently, with little or no mortality in this patient group.