Drop Metastasis From Sinonasal Undifferentiated Carcinoma: Clinical Implications

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Study Design. The first reported case of multiple intradural, extramedullary spinal metastasis from sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma is presented.Objectives.To elucidate the mechanisms by which metastatic disease invades the spinal axis, and to discuss the possibility of spinal drop metastasis from head and neck tumors that invade the dura.Summary of Background Data. Sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma is a rare yet aggressive neoplasm of the upper airways and anterior skull base. This neoplasm is known to invade the cranial vault and brain locally. However, it has not previously been reported to seed the cerebrospinal fluid or result in drop metastasis. Such drop metastasis may result in significant neurologic deficit if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.Methods.This report is based on a single patient treated by a multidisciplinary team from the departments of neurosurgery, otolaryngology, and radiation oncology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.Results.This patient initially underwent resection and local radiation therapy for sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma of the anterior skull base. At the time of surgery, the tumor was noted to violate the dura and arachnoid along the subfrontal plane. At 11/2 years after the initial treatment, a bandlike distribution developed at T2 as well as paresthesias and numbness below that level. Imaging of the spine showed an intradural, extramedullary tumor at T2 consistent with a schwannoma or meningioma. The patient underwent a laminectomy and tumor resection, which showed poorly differentiated sinonasal carcinoma. Local radiation therapy was administered, and the patient experienced complete recovery of neurologic function. Bilateral leg pain and weakness developed 14 months later. Magnetic resonance imaging of the spine showed a new intradural, extramedullary lesion at T12, remote from the first lesion. This second metastasis was managed with surgical resection and adjuvant radiation therapy.Conclusions.This is the first reported case of a sinonasal carcinoma leading to intradural extramedullary metastasis. The primary tumor likely seeded the cerebrospinal fluid, thus resulting in drop metastasis. Patients with sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma that invades the dura should be monitored closely for evidence of metastasis before symptoms develop.

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