Granulocytic sarcoma of the spine

Neurosurgery. 2000 Jan;46(1):78-83; discussion 83-4.


Objective: Granulocytic sarcomas (chloromas) are tumors consisting of primitive myeloid cells. They are rare manifestations of acute and chronic leukemias and can occasionally precede the development of systemic disease by weeks to years. Spinal complications of chloromas, such as cord compression secondary to epidural tumor or cauda equina syndrome, have been described but are uncommon.

Methods: We present eight new cases of spinal chloroma. Three patients displayed significant motor deficit in the form of paraparesis or paraplegia. All patients complained of lower back pain, with other complaints including generalized pain, abdominal pain, numbness and pain in the lower extremities and perianal region, and poor appetite. The average age of the patients was 37 years. Treatment strategies included surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Three patients underwent surgical decompression. Six patients received chemotherapy, and six patients received radiotherapy at doses of 2000 to 3000 cGy in up to 30 fractions.

Results: Patient survival ranged from 18 days to 9.5 years after diagnosis. A review of the previously reported cases of granulocytic sarcoma in addition to our new cases reveals that the most effective treatment is multimodality therapy coupled with early diagnosis.

Conclusion: Increased awareness of this entity will facilitate early diagnosis and minimize potentially preventable neurological morbidity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / complications
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / complications
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / diagnosis*