Secondary intramedullary spinal cord non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

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17 Scopus citations


Intramedullary spinal cord metastases of solid neoplasms are associated with poor long-term survival. As the characteristics of secondary intramedullary spinal cord non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) are not well understood, we sought to describe its clinical features and outcome. We retrospectively reviewed the Mayo Clinic patient database, lymphoma database, and pathology records from 1996 to 2010 and identified patients with clinical myelopathy and neuroimaging evidence of secondary intramedullary spinal cord involvement from pathologically confirmed systemic NHL. Seven patients were included in this study. The median age was 61 years (range, 41-81). Symptom onset was subacute (≥8 weeks) in six. Four patients were wheelchair-dependent at diagnosis. Spinal cord NHL was diagnosed by cerebrospinal fluid cytology in four; Positron emission tomography hypermetabolism in two; or MRI features alone. Myelopathy developed in five patients at a median 8 months (range, 1-58) following systemic NHL diagnosis, while myelopathy was the heralding symptom of NHL in two patients. Spinal cord MRI lesions were characteristically gadolinium enhancing and expansile. Four patients had co-existing MRI brain lesions. Six patients had B-cell NHL and one patient T-cell NHL. Six of the seven were treated (high dose intravenous methotrexate in three; radiation therapy in two; and R-CHOP in one). Median survival was 11.5 months (range, 1-28) with a 33% 2-year survival compared to historical median survival estimates of spinal cord metastases due to solid tumors of 3 months. In secondary intramedullary spinal cord involvement of NHL early neurological morbidity is common, but overall survival compares favorably to previously reported survival in spinal cord metastases from solid tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-580
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Intramedullary
  • Lymphoma
  • Metastatic
  • Secondary
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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