Radiation-induced spinal cord glioblastoma subsequent to treatment of medulloblastoma: case report

Childs Nerv Syst. 2021 Apr;37(4):1351-1355. doi: 10.1007/s00381-020-04817-x. Epub 2020 Jul 22.


Medulloblastomas are one of the most common malignant pediatric brain tumors. Therapy has evolved into multimodality treatments consisting of surgery, radiation, and adjuvant chemotherapy. While craniospinal radiation remains standard for patients older than 3 years of age, it is not free of side effects and long-term complications. The development of malignant gliomas following therapy is a well-documented phenomenon. However, the majority of these radiation-induced glioblastomas (RIG) are intracranial, and intraspinal lesions are rare. The patient is a 22-year-old female with a history of a posterior fossa medulloblastoma diagnosed 8 years prior for which she underwent surgical resection followed by adjuvant chemotherapy and craniospinal radiation. Surveillance imaging showed no evidence of recurrence or new lesions for the following 5 years. She presented with nausea and vomiting and imaging revealing a new intramedullary cervical spinal cord lesion. She then developed acute quadriplegia several days after presentation. She underwent a cervical laminectomy and resection of this lesion, which was initially diagnosed as recurrent medulloblastoma before genomic analysis ultimately revealed it to be a RIG. Spinal RIGs that occur secondary to treatment for an intracranial neoplasm are exceedingly rare. The majority of spinal cord RIGs have been reported secondary to treatment for tumors outside of the neuroaxis, while the majority of RIGs secondary to treatment for intracranial tumors remain intracranial. Nevertheless, RIGs are associated with a short clinical history, aggressive progression, and poor outcome.

Keywords: Glioblastoma; Medulloblastoma; Oncology; Radiation; Spinal cord.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Child
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma*
  • Humans
  • Medulloblastoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Medulloblastoma* / therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Spinal Cord
  • Young Adult