The management of low-grade intramedullary astrocytomas is controversial. Unlike ependymonas, which have a distinct cleavage plane, astrocytomas are diffuse infiltrative tumors. The intramedullary tumor database at NYU Medical Center was searched to identify all patients with intramedullary astrocytoma from 1988 to 1994. Seventeen patients presented with a low-grade diffuse astrocytoma. The medical, surgical and office records were reviewed retrospectively and statistically analyzed. All patients underwent a radical resection of the intramedullary tumor; of these, 12 patients had gross-total removal and 5 had subtotal removal. Nine patients received adjuvant radiotherapy. The median follow-up period was 7.4 years. Fourteen patients are alive and have stable disease. Eleven patients (79%) are functionally independent at last follow-up. The remaining patients are at functional Grade III. The 5-year overall survival was 82% for this group. These results indicate that aggressive surgery is associated with a prolonged survival for patients with intramedullary astrocytomas. Radiation therapy should only be reserved for patients who have radiographic progression or inoperable disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Cancer Research
- Spinal cord tumor