Adult primary intradural spinal cord tumors: a review

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2011 Jun;11(3):320-8. doi: 10.1007/s11910-011-0190-2.


Primary spinal cord tumors constitute 2% to 4% of all central nervous system neoplasms and are characterized based on their location as intramedullary, intradural extramedullary, and extradural. A contemporary literature review of primary intradural spinal cord tumors was performed. Among intramedullary tumors, ependymomas are more common and often can be surgically resected. However, astrocytomas infiltrate the spinal cord and complete resection is rare. Intradural extramedullary tumors include schwannomas, neurofibromas, and meningiomas and are usually amenable to surgical resection. Radiotherapy is reserved for malignant variants and recurrent gliomas, whereas chemotherapy is administered for recurrent primary spinal cord tumors without surgical or radiotherapy options. Early recognition of the signs and symptoms related to primary spinal cord tumors facilitates timely discovery, treatment, potentially minimizes neurologic morbidity, and may improve outcome. Treatment consists of surgical resection, and predictors of outcome include preoperative functional status, histologic grade of tumor, and extent of surgical resection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Astrocytoma / pathology
  • Astrocytoma / therapy
  • Ependymoma / pathology
  • Ependymoma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / classification
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / therapy
  • Survival Rate