Extramedullary tumors, also known as granulocytic sarcomas (GS), occur most frequently in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). They may signal the onset of the accelerated phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) or the blastic transformation of a myeloproliferative disorder. Occasionally, a GS may be the presenting sign of undiagnosed AML, and rarely the presenting sign of undiagnosed CML or aleukemic leukemia. Paraplegia due to a spinal cord GS is an extremely rare presentation of undiagnosed leukemia. This is the first case report of paraplegia as the presenting manifestation of extramedullary megakaryoblastic transformation of previously undiagnosed CML. A 53-year-old woman reported back pain for 6 days, rapidly progressing to paraplegia. Physical examination noted a large abdominal mass and flaccid paralysis in both lower extremities. Spinal MRI revealed a T4-T6 vertebral mass causing spinal stenosis and cord compression. Tumor debulking and laminectomy were performed emergently. The tumor consisted of noncohesive blast cells. The CBC revealed a leukocyte count of 238,300/microl and a differential consistent with CML. Reexamination of the patient found that the abdominal mass was a giant spleen. Further immunohistochemical studies of the tumor were consistent with extramedullary acute megakaryoblastic blast transformation of CML. Although extramedullary blast crises herald the accelerated phases in approximately 10% of CML cases, megakaryoblastic blast transformation of CML accounts for less than 3% of these cases. The combination of acute paraplegia and megakaryoblastic transformation in a previously undiagnosed patient with CML is extremely rare and may pose a diagnostic dilemma.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.