The Turkish Journal of Pediatrics 2023 , Vol 65 , Num 5
The etiologies and management of spinal cord compression in childhood cancers: Are we aware of the emergency of cord compression?
Arzu Okur 1 ,Özge Vural 1 ,Faruk Güçlü Pınarlı 1
1 Division of Pediatric Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Gazi University School of Medicine, Ankara, Türkiye DOI : 10.24953/turkjped.2023.240 Background. The spinal cord compression causes irreversible long-term permanent neurological sequelae. This study aims to increase awareness of childhood cancers that cause cord compression by comparing histopathological diagnosis, treatments, and survival rates to the literature.

Methods. Seventy-three patients (38 male, 35 female) with spinal cord compression, among 1085 patients diagnosed with solid tumors at Gazi University Department of Pediatric Oncology between 1991 and 2021 were retrospectively evaluated.

Results. The mean time between the onset of complaints and diagnosis was 27.5± 24.9 (2-150) days. The first three most common tumors that caused cord compression; were central nervous system tumors in 22 (30%), neuroblastoma in 17 (23%), and malignant germ cell tumors in 8 (10%) cases. Of the patients, 46 (63%) had compression due to extradural masses, and 27 (37%) patients had an intradural compression. The most common symptoms were pain in 60 (82%), weakness in 57 (78%), and pins and needles in 28 (38%) patients, respectively. The clinical physical neurological examination findings were motor deficit in 62 (84%), and deep tendon reflex changes in 54 patients (73.9%). Compression findings were detected in 58 (79.5%) patients at diagnosis, and in 15 (20.5%) of them during follow-up. The most common level of compression was seen in the thoracolumbar region in 19 (26%) cases. In 65 (89%) patients with cord compression, corticosteroids were given as anti-edema treatment. Surgical excision was performed in 39 (53%) patients. Spinal radiotherapy was given to 35 patients (48%) with radiosensitive tumors. Chemotherapy protocols were started in 52 (71.2%) cases according to their diagnoses. Complete neurological recovery was achieved in 33 (45%) patients. The 5-year overall survival rates for solid tumors with extradural compression and intradural compression were 62% and 22%, respectively (p=0.002).

Conclusions. Neurological sequela-free recovery is possible with early diagnosis and urgent treatment. Spinal compression must be detected by detailed systemic and neurological examination and imaging methods. Patients should be rapidly transferred to pediatric oncology units after starting anti-edema treatment. Keywords : spinal cord compression, childhood cancers

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