Clinical characteristics and surgical outcomes of spinal myxopapillary ependymomas

  • Tie Liu
  • Chenlong Yang
  • Xiaofeng Deng
  • Anqi Li
  • Yu Xin
  • Jun Yang
  • Yulun XuEmail author
Original Article


Spinal myxopapillary ependymoma (SME) is a rare pathological variant of ependymoma, which most commonly occurs in the cauda equina and filum terminale of the spinal cord. Although SME is considered as a benign entity, histologically corresponding to WHO grade I, local recurrence and metastasis have been reported in many cases. The purpose of this large-scale, single-center study was to investigate the clinical characteristics and surgical outcomes of SME. A total of 34 consecutive patients diagnosed with SME were enrolled in this retrospective study. All patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and were treated with surgical resection. Individual clinical data were collected, and surgical outcomes were evaluated during the follow-up period. There were 21 males and 13 females, with an average age of 29.97 years. Clinical symptoms included back pain (82.4%), weakness (44.1%) and numbness (20.6%) in extremities, and sphincter dysfunction (26.5%). The tumor locations included lumbar segments (52.9%), thoracolumbar segments (23.5%), lumbosacral segments (17.6%), and thoraco-lumbo-sacral segments (5.9%). On MRI, all SMEs appeared hypointense on T1-weighted imaging and hyperintense on T2-weighted imaging, with remarkable enhancement. Gross total resection was achieved in 18 patients, and subtotal resection (STR) was achieved in 16 patients. After an average follow-up period of 41.5 months, recurrence was noted in 5 patients (5 of 16) who underwent STR. SMEs have some characteristic features on MRI which can facilitate the preoperative diagnosis. Complete surgical resection is the best treatment of choice with a favorable outcome. In cases of incomplete resection, postoperative radiotherapy may be an effective alternative.


Myxopapillary ependymoma Spinal tumor MRI Surgical resection Prognosis 



We thank all of the patients and their families who trusted us, and all of the physicians and staff members who helped in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Tiantan HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.China National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Diseases (NCRC-ND)BeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of OrthopedicsPeking University Third HospitalBeijingChina

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