European Spine Journal

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 1448–1452 | Cite as

Malignant triton tumor: Grand Round presentation of a rare aggressive case thoracolumbar spine tumor

  • Soufiane Ghailane
  • Sandra Fauquier
  • Sébastien Lepreux
  • Jean-Charles Le HuecEmail author
Grand Rounds


Open image in new window Introduction

We report a rare and aggressive case of malignant triton tumor (MTT) at the thoracolumbar junction with foraminal extension mistreated as schwannoma.

Materials and methods

A 70-year-old man with a 2-year history of lower back pain and left L4 radiculopathy with no history of neurofibromatosis.


Pre-operative MRI suggested a typical schwannoma. Upon complete marginal resection, histological findings revealed a MTT. The patient presented with a local and regional recurrence and died 10 months after surgery. MTTs are a subgroup of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, which develop from Schwann cells of peripheral nerves or within existing neurofibromas, and display rhabdomyoblastic differentiation.


Based on the Grand Round case and relevant literature, we present a case of a highly aggressive and fast-growing tumor with a very high local and distant recurrence. There is no consensus treatment plan available and patients usually die shortly after diagnosis.


Malignant triton tumor Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor Spinal tumor 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any forms have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.


  1. 1.
    McConnell YJ, Giacomantonio CA (2012) Malignant triton tumors—complete surgical resection and adjuvant radiotherapy associated with improved survival. J Surg Oncol 106(1):51–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Friesenbichler J, Leithner A, Maurer-Ertl W, Szkandera J, Sadoghi P, Frings A et al (2014) Surgical therapy of primary malignant bone tumours and soft tissue sarcomas of the chest wall: a two-institutional experience. Int Orthop 38(6):1235–1240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Daimaru Y, Hashimoto H, Enjoji M (1984) Malignant “triton” tumors: a clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical study of nine cases. Hum Pathol 15(8):768–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Masson P, Martin JF (1938) Rhabdomyomes des nerfs. Bull Assoc Fr Etude Cancer 27:751–767Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Woodruff JM, Chernik NL, Smith MC, Millett WB, Foote FW (1973) Peripheral nerve tumors with rhabdomyosarcomatous differentiation (malignant “Triton” tumors). Cancer 32(2):426–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Prieto R, Pascual JM, García-Cabezas MA, López-Barea F, Barrios L, González-Llanos F (2012) Low-grade malignant triton tumor in the lumbar spine: a rare variant of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor with rhabdomyoblastic differentiation. Neuropathol Off J Jpn Soc Neuropathol 32(2):180–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ren W, Xu X, Yan J, Qian X, Liu B (2014) Malignant triton tumor of the anterior mediastinum: a case report. Oncol Lett 7(3):807–810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Yimaz MR, Bek S, Bekmezci T, Gökduman C, Solak AAS (2004) Malignant triton tumor of the lumbar spine. Spine 29(18):E399–E401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Jinnai T, Koyama T (2005) Clinical characteristics of spinal nerve sheath tumors: analysis of 149 cases. Neurosurgery 56(3):510–515 (discussion 510–515) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    James G, Crocker M, King A, Bodi I, Ibrahim A, Chitnavis BP (2008) Malignant triton tumors of the spine. J Neurosurg Spine 8(6):567–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soufiane Ghailane
    • 1
  • Sandra Fauquier
    • 2
  • Sébastien Lepreux
    • 2
  • Jean-Charles Le Huec
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Spinal Surgery Unit 2, Bordeaux University HospitalUniversité de Bordeaux, C.H.U Tripode PellegrinBordeauxFrance
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, Bordeaux University HospitalUniversité de Bordeaux, C.H.U Tripode PellegrinBordeauxFrance

Personalised recommendations