Histopathology and clinical outcome of NF1-associated vs. sporadic malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are usually located in the trunk, extremities, head, or neck, and most occur with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1; von Recklinghausen’s disease). No biomarkers have previously been found to be associated with their progression. Retroperitoneal NF1-independent MPNSTs are rare; they are considered to be less aggressive and to have better prognoses compared to NF1-related tumors. Currently, en bloc excision is the only consensus treatment approach. In a 27-year-old male with a giant retroperitoneal MPNST and no stigmata or family history of neurofibromatosis type-1 (NF1), a remarkable elevation of serum CA125 was detected. The high-grade tumor displayed a striking progression: the primary lesion, 25 cm in diameter, recurred in its previous site as a 17-cm MPNST less than 50 days after total excision. Subsequent treatment with microwave ablation and huachansu, a traditional Chinese medication, proved ineffective, and the patient died within 3 months. Our case suggests that retroperitoneal MPNSTs can deteriorate rapidly even if NF1 independent, that aggressive treatment may not benefit large high-grade MPNSTs, and that novel and effective treatment is urgently needed. Our case also suggests the possibility of using serum tumor markers in the early detection and monitoring of MPNSTs.