Table of Contents
ISRN Surgery
Volume 2011, Article ID 526454, 6 pages
Research Article

Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors in Africa: A Clinicopathological Study

Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery Unit, AIC Kijabe Hospital, Kijabe 00220, Kenya

Received 21 February 2011; Accepted 16 March 2011

Academic Editors: C. F. Bianchi and E. C. Tsimoyiannis

Copyright © 2011 Peter M. Nthumba and Paul Irungu Juma. 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.


Introduction. Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are rare, aggressive soft tissue sarcomas associated with poor prognosis, that most commonly affect patients aged 20 to 50 years, but have also been reported in children. There is little reported in literature on these tumors in Africa. Materials and Methods. A search of the hospital pathology database between 1992 and 2008 revealed 333 nerve sheath tumors, of which 31 were MPNSTs. Four representative case reports are presented. Discussion. MNPSTs have rarely been reported from sub-Saharan Africa; in this study, they constituted 9.3% of all nerve sheath tumors. The trunk (42%) and limbs (45%) were the most frequently affected anatomical sites. Late presentation of malignant lesions in this environment is exemplified by the four case presentations patients. Conclusions. This report confirms observations from studies on MPNSTs from other environments. Anatomically centrally located MPNSTs may have a higher incidence in sub-Saharan Africa than in the West. Because NF1-associated MPNSTs are difficult to diagnose clinically, and because surgery is the only mode of therapy that offers a complete cure, a lifetime follow-up is important, as this would enable diagnosis of early lesions amenable to surgical extirpation.