Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 7, Issue 3, Pages 261-265
Original Article

Neurogenic Tumors of the Mediastinum: A Report of 60 Cases

Salih Topçu, Aysin Alper, Erkmen Gülhan, Osman Koçyigit, Irfan Tastepe, and Güven Çetin

Atatürk Chest Disease and Chest Surgery Centre, Department of Chest Surgery, Ankara, Turkey

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVES: To analyze retrospectively 60 patients (13 infants and children, 47 adults - 21 men and 39 women) with mediastinal neurogenic tumours admitted to Atatürk Centre for Chest Disease and Chest Surgery, Ankara, Turkey between 1988 and 1999. This comprised 21.2% of 283 patients who had surgical operations for all mediastinal masses during the same period.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The patients ranged from four to 67 years of age. Thirteen patients were younger than 15 years and 47 were 15 years of age or older. Medical records were reviewed for demographic data, clinical presentation, diagnostic investigations, operative procedures, and tumour location and invasion. Postoperative morbidity and mortality were noted as well as long term follow-up. The clinical investigations included chest x-ray and computed tomography of the thorax in all patients, and spinal magnetic resonance imaging and bronchoscopical examination in some. Clinical variables were compared.

RESULTS: The tumours had the following characteristics: 42 (70%) were nerve sheath tumours; 15 (25%) were autonomic ganglion tumours; two (3.6%) were paragangliomas; and one (1.4%) was a malignant peripheral neuroectodermal tumour (Askin's tumour). Nerve cell tumours comprised the majority of tumours in infants and children (nine of 13, 69%), whereas the nerve sheath tumours were most frequent in adults (39 of 47, 83%). There were 48 benign and 12 (20%) malignant tumours when all age groups were considered; the malignancy rate was 61.5% (eight of 13) in children and  8.5% (four of 47, P<0.05) in adults. All patients were operated via a posterolateral thoracotomy. Surgical resection of the tumour was complete in 56 of 60 patients (93.3%). Resection of malignant tumours was grossly incomplete in four cases (four of 12, 33.3%). All benign tumours were totally excised. There were two major complications (respiratory failure and pulmonary emboli) and 14 minor complications in the perioperative period. The mean follow-up period was five years and seven months. Tumours recurred in 5.3% (three of 56) of patients who had a complete resection initially. There were no late deaths related to benign tumours.

CONCLUSIONS: Complete resection of tumours can be performed safely by a thoracotomy approach and is important for achieving satisfactory long term survival in most mediastinal neurogenic tumours.