CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Annals of Otology and Neurotology 2019; 2(02): 72-75
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1708563
Case Report

Glioblastoma in the Cerebellopontine Angle in a Patient with Neurofibromatosis Type I: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Mohammad Kareem Shukairy
1   Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, United States
,
Andrea M. Ziegler
2   Department of Otolaryngology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, United States
,
Douglas E. Anderson
3   Department of Neurosurgery, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, United States
,
John P. Leonetti
2   Department of Otolaryngology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, United States
› Author Affiliations
 

Abstract

Introduction Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common primary brain malignancy in adults and is typically in the supratentorial cerebral hemispheres. It has been reported to occur in the posterior fossa at the cerebellopontine angle (CPA), but the incidence is extremely rare.

Case Report We report a case of a patient with a history of neurofibromatosis type I (NFI) diagnosed with a GBM arising in the CPA after presenting with facial numbness and pain. Patients with NFI are known to have an increased risk of developing both benign and malignant tumors, including a propensity for brainstem gliomas. However, there is no known association between NFI and tumors of the CPA. We believe this is the first reported case of a GBM of the CPA in a patient with NFI.

Conclusion Although rare, GBM should be included in the differential diagnosis of a patient with a CPA tumor, especially in patients with increased risk of malignant pathology.


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Introduction

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common primary brain tumor in adults, comprising 15 to 20% of all intracranial tumors.[1] [2] [3] They usually present in the supratentorial region within the cerebral hemispheres. Posterior fossa or cerebellopontine angle (CPA) occurrence is unusual and may pose a clinical challenge as it may mimic other, more commonly seen neoplasms in this location.[4] [5] Within the CPA, they typically arise intra-axially from the cerebellum or pons with lateral exophytic extension.[4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] Internal auditory canal (IAC) involvement is rare, with very few cases reported in the literature.[3] [5] [12] There is no documented association between CPA glioblastomas and genetic or syndromic disorders. We present a case of a 48-year-old patient with neurofibromatosis type I (NFI) with an intra-axial GBM arising within the CPA.


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Case Report

Clinicoradiographic Presentation

A 48-year-old male patient presented with a 1-month history of progressive right-sided facial numbness and pain. He denied any other neurologic symptoms. His past medical and surgical history were significant for NFI, chronic vocal cord paralysis secondary to numerous procedures in childhood to excise laryngeal neurofibromas, and a Whipple procedure for pancreatic ampullary carcinoma.

Physical examination demonstrated right facial hypesthesia, but all other cranial nerves were intact. An audiogram was obtained with normal hearing bilaterally.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and brainstem revealed a right heterogeneous T1 hypointense, T2 hyperintense contrast-enhancing 3.7 cm intra-axial mass with central necrosis centered within the right ventral pons with extension superiorly to the midbrain. Additionally, there was an 8-mm satellite lesion in the anteromedial paramedian pons ([Fig. 1]). There was surrounding regional mass effect with partial effacement of the right fourth ventricle and midline shift at the level of the midsuperior pons with no IAC involvement.

Zoom Image
Fig. 1 Axial T1 weighted contrast enhancing lesions in the right cerebellopontine angle (long white arrow) without internal auditory canal involvement (double arrow) and ventral brainstem (short white arrow).

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Surgical Approach

The patient underwent a combined transpetrosal-retrosigmoid approach, and the tumor had an ill-defined plane separating it from the cerebellum and adjacent pons. Frozen section histopathology showed poorly differentiated malignant neoplasm with focal rhabdoid features, suggesting a tumor of glial origin. The patient underwent a subtotal tumor resection due to the dangerous medial plane of dissection.


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Postoperative Course

The patient’s postoperative course was uncomplicated, and he was discharged on postoperative day 3. The final pathology revealed this to be a diffuse, high-grade astrocytoma, and WHO grade IV. Immunohistochemical stains showed glial fibrillary acidic protein positivity, consistent with glioblastoma.[13] The IDH1 mutant was negative. After his scheduled visits with hematology and radiation oncology, protocol-based therapy for GBM was initiated and he began temozolomide with planned concurrent radiation therapy.


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Discussion

Cerebellopontine angle tumors are the most common neoplasms in the posterior fossa and may be classified based on their site of origin as either intra-axial or extra-axial.[14] [15] Although the majority of tumors that arise in this location are benign, more sinister entities may occur. Only 11 cases of primary glioblastoma have been reported in the CPA ([Table 1]). Most of these tumors have an intra-axial site of origin within the cerebellum or pons and appear to exhibit secondary exophytic extension into the CPA.[4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] Only three of the described lesions involved the IAC.[3] [5] [12] None of the patients in the literature had syndromic or genetic predispositions that contributed to tumorigenesis.

Table 1

Summary of cerebellopontine angle glioblastoma case reports

Authors

Sex/Age (y)

Site of origin

IAC involvement

Symptom duration

Treatment

Prognosis

Abbreviations: CN, cranial nerve; F, female; IAC, internal auditory canal; M, male; RT, radiation therapy.

Swaroop and Whittle[5]

M/22

Pons

Yes

12 months

Subtotal resection

Unknown

Kasliwal et al[7]

M/11

Cerebellum

No

15 days

Subtotal resection

Died after 2 months

Rasalingam et al[10]

M/9

Pons

No

2 weeks

Subtotal resection

Alive after 2 months

Wu et al[3]

M/60

CN VIII

Yes

2 months

Subtotal resection

Died after 2 months

Salunke et al[11]

M/59

Pons

No

3 months

Subtotal resection and RT

Unknown

Matsuda et al[9]

M/69

Cerebellum

No

1 hour

Subtotal resection with chemotherapy and RT

Alive after 24 months

Lee et al[8]

F/71

Cerebellum

No

3 months

Stereotactic biopsy with chemotherapy and RT

Alive after 12 months

Panigrahi et al[4]

F/52

Possible cerebellum

No

2 months

Subtotal resection and RT

Alive after 3 months

Chen et al[6]

F/5

Pons

No

5 months

Subtotal resection

Died after 2 months

Yang et al[1]

M/55

CN VIII

No

3 months

Subtotal resection

Died after 2.5 months

Takami et al[12]

M/55

Possible CN VIII

Yes

19 months

Subtotal resection and RT

Alive after 5 months

Present case

M/48

Pons

No

1 month

Subtotal resection, RT, and chemotherapy

Alive after 3 months

Based on the current literature, we report the first case of primary CPA GBM arising from two distinct foci in a patient with NFI. This is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder due to mutations in the NFI, tumor-suppressor gene on chromosome 17, which results in loss of or reduced function of the protein neurofibromin.[16] [17] Ultimately, this is responsible for a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations ranging from café-au-lait macules to central nervous system tumors causing neurologic complications.[18] Despite no previously documented association between this genetic syndrome and CPA GBM, it is known that there are thousands of distinct and unique pathogenic mutations in affected patients with NFI. Correlations between genotype and phenotype in patients with NF1 are more difficult to predict in patients with smaller mutations (<20 base pairs) in the NFI gene.[19] It is known, however, that a mutation in the NFI gene places patients at increased risk to develop both benign and malignant tumors throughout their lifetime.[20] [21] More specifically, they have an increased propensity to develop gliomas in the brainstem.[16] [22] Independent risk factors associated with mortality and tumor aggressiveness in this cohort include symptomatic tumors, extra-optic location, and adult patients.[22]

Our patient’s neoplasm manifested acutely with a complete, right-sided trigeminal sensory deficit. Based on our imaging findings and, specifically, the lack of IAC involvement, a vestibular schwannoma was unlikely. The formulated differential diagnosis included trigeminal schwannoma, meningioma, primary brain malignancy, or metastatic disease. Due to the complexity of our patient’s clinical characteristics, a diagnosis was only established after histopathological studies were finalized.

As with the other reported cases of CPA GBM, our patient’s clinical characteristics made preoperative diagnosis difficult as the tumor mimicked more benign and commonplace lesions that typically arise within that site. In terms of management, the postoperative ramifications that accompanied the diagnosis were significant. Treatment for GBM follows a triple-based protocol regimen involving gross tumor resection, chemotherapy, classically with the alkylating drug temozolomide, and concurrent radiotherapy.[2] [9] Despite this aggressive approach to treatment, prognosis of GBM is dismal, with most patients only surviving 1 year after the initial diagnosis.[23] This is in stark contrast to CPA schwannomas, which can be managed with radiographic surveillance, radiotherapy, or surgical resection.[24] [25] After his initial hematology-oncology evaluation, our patient was started on 140 mg of temozolomide daily with a plan to initiate RT. Long-term prognosis for CPA GBM is not well described and is based on a limited number of anecdotal case reports. It is worth noting that longer survival was observed in the patients receiving all three therapeutic options concurrently.[8] [9]

In conclusion, we provided a case of primary intra-axial CPA GBM mimicking a more benign entity in a patient with NFI with the intention of providing insight into the clinicoradiographic presentation and natural history of this tumor. Although rare, GBM should be considered in the differential diagnosis, especially if the clinical course is rapid and progressive with multifocal brain involvement. Special attention should be directed to patients with NF1, as they have a higher likelihood of presenting with rare and more aggressive pathology.


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Note

This work will be presented as a poster at the North American Skull Base Society annual meeting in February 2020. This manuscript has not previously been published and is not under consideration by another journal at this time.

Conflict of Interest

None declared.


Address for correspondence

Andrea Ziegler, MD
Department of Otolaryngology
2160 S 1st Avenue, Maguire Building, Maywood, IL 60153
United States   

Publication History

Article published online:
02 April 2020

© 2019. Indian Society of Otology. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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Zoom Image
Fig. 1 Axial T1 weighted contrast enhancing lesions in the right cerebellopontine angle (long white arrow) without internal auditory canal involvement (double arrow) and ventral brainstem (short white arrow).