Background: Tumours of the clivus are exceptionally rare, representing a diagnostic and a therapeutic challenge. Clival solitary plasmocytomas have been described only as single case reports or included in small clinical series with other intracranial location.
Methods: Authors report clinical, radiological, and survival data of four patients, who underwent surgery for clival plasmocytomas between 1989 and 2012 in a single centre. Current knowledge about solitary plasmocytomas of the clivus are reviewed.
Results: Follow-up time was 54 months (range: 9-165). Mean age of patient was 57 years, no gender predilection was observed. Main symptoms were headache (75 %) and double vision (75 %), due to third or sixth cranial nerve palsy. Mean time to diagnosis was 8.2 months. All patients underwent surgery as primary treatment, through either a transsphenoidal (75 %) or a transmaxillary approach (25 %). In all cases adjuvant conventional radiotherapy was performed with a median delivered dose of 45 Gy. Only one case of progression into multiple myeloma was observed 13 months after surgery, and the patient died 9 months later. No other recurrences or progression were observed. Mean overall survival and progression free survival time were, respectively, 54 and 51.7 months.
Conclusions: Although extremely rare, clival plasmocytomas have to be considered in the differential diagnosis of a solitary clival lesion. Biological and clinical features of these tumours strongly differ from those of similar lesions in other part of the body. Early diagnosis, extensive tumour removal, opportune indication of adjuvant treatment with radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the keys to manage these cases.