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Synchronous Presentation of a Cervical Spinal Schwannoma and Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis in a 65-year-old Man.

  • Author(s): Perry, Avital
  • Peters, Pierce
  • Graffeo, Christopher S
  • Carlstrom, Lucas P
  • Krauss, William E
  • et al.
Abstract

Schwannomas are common benign neoplasms of the myelinating cells surrounding peripheral nerve axons. Though uncommon, lesions arising in the cervical spine may produce radicular pain and myelopathic weakness. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common autoimmune disorder with the capacity to mimic nearly any neurologic disease, including spinal cord neoplasms. We report the third case of synchronously presenting primary progressive MS and spinal schwannoma. A 65-year-old man presented with six months of progressive weakness and pain of the right shoulder, forearm, and hand. MRI demonstrated a contrast-enhancing transforaminal lesion at C7, most consistent with a benign nerve sheath tumor. Additional history disclosed several years of worsening fatigue, accompanied by bilateral weakness and lancinating leg pain. MRI of the neuraxis demonstrated abnormalities consistent with chronic demyelinating disease intracranially and within the spinal cord; cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis revealed nine oligoclonal bands and an elevated IgG index, resulting in the diagnosis of MS. Given the symptomatic C7 lesion, the patient subsequently underwent right C6-C7 facetectomy, gross total resection of the tumor, and C6-T1 posterior instrumented fusion. Postoperatively, the patient rapidly recovered normal right upper extremity function, and pathology confirmed benign schwannoma. Synchronously presenting co-morbid neurologic diagnoses are exceedingly rare. Nonetheless, the high incidence and protean nature of MS make it particularly susceptible to such confounding clinical cases. Correspondingly, MS should be considered when neurologic abnormalities are not compatible with a focal radiographic lesion, and the present report emphasizes the value of a good history and exam in unraveling similarly challenging cases.

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