Upper cervical spine chordoma of C2–C3
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Chordoma is a rare low-grade malignant neoplasm derived from the remnants of the embryonic notochord. This locally invasive neoplasm is subject to recurrence after treatment. The median survival time is estimated to be 6.3 years. Various treatment approaches have been attempted, including radical excision, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Treatment outcome is significantly influenced by the size and site of the chordoma. Recently, Imatinib, a molecular-targeted agent, has been shown to have antitumor activity in chordoma. Proton radiotherapy, stereotactic radiotherapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy have also been used. Surgical treatment is still the primary choice for chordoma. It has become more aggressive in recent years, evolving from intralesional or partial excision to en bloc resection. However, upper cervical localizations make such en bloc resection in most cases not possible. We present and discuss the therapeutic challenges of a young female with large retropharyngeal chordoma who presented to our institution after conventional photon beam radiotherapy. This C2/3 tumor was classified IB according to the Enneking classification. It distributed to layers A–D and sectors 1–6 according to the Weinstein Boriani Biagini Classification. The left vertebral artery (VA) was encapsulated and displaced. One stage intralesional extracapsular tumor excision and reconstruction was achieved by combined bilateral high anterior cervical approaches and posterior approach. No recurrence or metastasis was observed 3 years after the operation. She returned to her previous occupation as office worker.
KeywordsChordoma Atlantoaxial spine Surgery
© Springer-Verlag 2009