Diffuse leptomeningeal seeding from a malignant spinal cord astrocytoma in a child with neurofibromatosis

Bernard L. Maria, Lee L. Cafferty, Harvey S. Singer, Jonathan I. Epstein, Benjamin S. Carson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 5-year-old child with typical clinical features of neurofibromatosis presented with a history of suspected basilar meningitis and CT findings of enlarged optic nerves and an expanding left cavernous sinus mass. CSF cytologies and meningeal biopsy were unremarkable. At craniotomy, a mass confluent with the left trigeminal nerve was resected which had histologic characteristics of a nerve sheath tumor but was GFAP (glial fibrillary acidic protein) stain positive. Postmortem examination, 1 month following surgical resection, demonstrated a clinically unsuspected primary thoracic spinal cord astrocytoma with dissemination throughout the subarachnoid space, invasion of the trigeminal nerve and encasement of other cranio-spinal nerves. This unusual case emphasizes the occurrence of leptomeningeal spread in a clinically silent spinal cord glioma and the diagnostic value of immunohistochemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1986


  • GFAP
  • leptomeningeal dissemination
  • neurofibromatosis
  • spinal cord astrocytoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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