Intracerebral epidermoid tumor: a case report and review of the literature

Surg Neurol. 2001 Apr;55(4):218-22. doi: 10.1016/s0090-3019(01)00346-9.


Background: Intracerebral epidermoid cysts are rare lesions and may account for only 1.5% of intracranial epidermoid tumors. Cell entrapment from the mesectodermal origin of the neural crest within the primitive cerebral hemisphere may lead to the formation of such rare intracerebral lesions.

Methods: An intracerebral epidermoid cyst located in the right temporal lobe that was surgically treated is presented. The origin, clinical course, radiological features, and surgical treatment of such uncommon lesions are discussed based on a review of the literature.

Results: Intraoperative findings revealed an epidermoid tumor. The postoperative course was uneventful and the patient was discharged with no neurological deficits. On long-term follow-up (2 years), there were no signs of recurrence.

Conclusions: Truly intracerebral epidermoid tumors are rarely found. Cells originating from mesectodermal lines may migrate and remain trapped within the primitive cerebral hemisphere while the neural tube is closing, leading to the formation of such intraparenchymal epidermoid tumors. Accurate preoperative diagnosis can be very difficult due to the radiological similarities to other common intracerebral cysts (e.g., astrocytomas or gliomas). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies, especially with diffusion-weighted images, allow greater accuracy in the preoperative differential diagnosis. Radical surgical removal should be attempted, but a less aggressive surgical strategy should be considered if there is strong adherence between the tumor capsule and the brain tissue, particularly in eloquent areas.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Brain Diseases / surgery*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epidermal Cyst / diagnosis*
  • Epidermal Cyst / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Temporal Lobe*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed