Clival Metastasis of a Duodenal Adenocarcinoma: A Case Report and Literature Review

World Neurosurg. 2017 Apr;100:62-68. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2016.12.078. Epub 2016 Dec 27.


Background: Clival metastases of adenocarcinomas are exceptionally rare tumors, especially when they arise from the small intestine. We present the first, to our knowledge, report of a metastasis of a duodenal adenocarcinoma to the clivus. We also present a systematic review detailing metastasis to the clivus.

Methods: Studies were identified using the search terms "clival metastasis," "skull base metastasis," and "clivus" in PubMed. We collected the following information: histopathology of the primary tumor, symptoms, history, treatment, and follow-up.

Results: A comprehensive review of the literature yielded 56 cases. Patients developed the first symptoms of clival metastasis at a mean age of 58 years. The most common primary neoplasms originated from the prostate, kidney, or liver. Most patients presented with an isolated sixth nerve palsy or diplopia. The time interval from diagnosis of the primary tumor to symptomatic presentation of clival metastasis ranged from 2 months to 33 years. Sixteen patients initially presented with symptoms of clival metastasis without a previously diagnosed primary tumor. Survival data were available for 35 patients, of which 63% died within a range of 2 days to 31 months after initial presentation.

Conclusions: Most primary neoplasms originated from the prostate, kidney, and liver, which differ from previous reports on skull base metastases. Abducens nerve palsy is often the first presentation of clival metastasis. Clival metastasis from duodenal carcinoma, although very rare, should be considered in the differential diagnosis of bony lesions of the clivus in a patient with a history of duodenal adenocarcinoma.

Keywords: Abducens nerve palsy; Clival metastasis; Duodenal adenocarcinoma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Aged
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior
  • Duodenal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / surgery