Pediatric paravertebral tumors: analysis of 96 patients


Child's Nervous System, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00381-023-06064-2
  • Journal Name: Child's Nervous System
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Keywords: Cord compression, Neuroblastoma, Neurologic deficits, Oncologic emergency
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: The most important complication of paravertebral tumors is cord compression (CC), which is an oncologic emergency. Early and appropriate intervention is important in terms of reducing morbidity and mortality. Here, we report our clinical experience with paravertebral tumors. Methods: The files of patients who were followed up for benign/malignant paravertebral tumors between 1988 and 2022 were evaluated retrospectively. Results: There were 96 patients with paravertebral tumors. The median age at diagnosis was 5 years (1 month–17 years). The male/female ratio was 1.13. The median time to diagnosis was 4 weeks (0–28 weeks). The most common presenting complaint was pain (62.5%). The diagnosis distribution was as follows: sympathetic nervous system (SNS) tumors (n: 38), soft tissue sarcomas (STS) (n: 23), Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) (n: 12), central nervous system (CNS) tumors (n: 9), germ cell tumor (n: 6), lymphomas (n: 4), and benign tumors (n: 4). Sixty-five patients (67.7%) had CC, 40% of whom received chemotherapy as first-line treatment. Decompression surgery was performed in 58.5% of the patients. For patients with CC, 26 patients had advanced disease at admission. Serious neurologic sequelae were observed in seventeen (17.7%) patients. Conclusion: Pain and neurological findings in childhood are warning signs for paravertebral tumors and CC. A detailed neurologic examination and radiodiagnostic imaging should be performed, and a definitive diagnosis should be made quickly. Anticancer treatment should be planned multidisciplinary. Decompression surgery should be discussed for patients with severe neurological deficits. Childhood cancers are chemosensitive; if possible, treatment should be initiated with chemotherapy to avoid neurological sequelae.