Primary atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor in the adult spine

Michael McGinity, Huma Siddiqui, Gulpreet Singh, Fermin Tio, Ahmed Shakir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) is a highly aggressive tumor of the central nervous system (WHO grade IV), which is most frequently found intracranially in young children and infants. Only three prior cases of primary ATRT involving the adult spine were found following a literature review, and the average survival for these patients was only 20 postoperative months. Case Description: A 43 year-old female presented with an acute exacerbation of chronic neck pain. While awaiting magnetic resonance (MR) studies of the cervical spine, she was found pulseless in her room. Although cardiopulmonary resuscitation was successful, she was found to be quadriplegic. The subsequent cervical MR imaging revealed a C1-3 intradural, extramedullary ventrolateral mass, markedly compressing the upper cervical spinal cord. Following successful surgical resection of the lesion, which proved pathologically to be an ATRT, she was treated with a full course of fractionated radiation therapy. Over the successive 6-month period, her neurological examination continued to improve to 4-/5 functional strength in her upper extremities, however, remained with 2/5 nonfunctional strength in her legs. Conclusions: ATRT involving the adult spine are rare and may often be misdiagnosed. This study points out that aggressive surgery followed by radiation therapy may improve outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • ATRT tumor
  • Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor
  • Cervical laminectomy
  • Cervical spine surgery
  • INI1
  • Neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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