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      Skull Base Chordomas and Chondrosarcomas

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          Skull base chordomas account for less than 0.2% and chondrosarcomas for less than 0.15% of all intracranial tumors. Although their clinical and imaging presentations are similar, they derive from different origins. Chordomas arise from embryonic remnants of the primitive notochord and chondrosarcomas from primitive mesenchymal cells or from the embryonic rest of the cranial cartilaginous matrix. Both entities are characterized by infiltration and destruction of the surrounding bone and soft tissue and a high locoregional recurrence rate. Chondrosarcomas, when treated with similar complex strategies, display a much better prognosis than chordomas. The overall survival is approximately 65% for chordomas and 80% for chondrosarcomas at 5 years and 30 and 50%, respectively, at 10 years. Chordomas are divided into the following 3 histological types: classical (conventional), chondroid, and dedifferentiated. Chondrosarcomas have conventional, mesenchymal, clear cell, and dedifferentiated subgroups. Both tumor entities often present with nonspecific symptoms, and headaches are the most reported initial symptom. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are required to determine the tumor localization and the extent of tumor growth. The treatment philosophy is to maximize tumor resection, minimize morbidity, and preserve function. Neurosurgical approaches commonly used for the resection of intracranial chordomas and chondrosarcomas are transsphenoidal, transbasal, cranio-orbitozygomatic, transzygomatic extended middle fossa, transcondylar, and transmaxillary approaches. Chordomas and chondrosarcomas are not sensitive to chemotherapy and there are no approved drugs for their treatment. The present treatment concept is a combination of surgical resection with a maximal excision and preserving patients’ quality of life by adjuvant radiotherapy for both chordomas and chondrosarcomas.

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          Most cited references 124

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          Cancer immunotherapy: harnessing the immune system to battle cancer.

           Yiping Yang (2015)
          The recent clinical successes of immune checkpoint blockade and chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies represent a turning point in cancer immunotherapy. These successes also underscore the importance of understanding basic tumor immunology for successful clinical translation in treating patients with cancer. The Reviews in this Review Series focus on current developments in cancer immunotherapy, highlight recent advances in our understanding of basic aspects of tumor immunology, and suggest how these insights can lead to the development of new immunotherapeutic strategies.
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            Chordoma: incidence and survival patterns in the United States, 1973-1995.

            Chordoma, a rare tumor arising from notochordal remnants, has been described to date only by single-institution case series or small population-based surveys. We used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute, 1973-1995, to calculate age-adjusted incidence and survival rates for 400 cases of microscopically confirmed chordoma and to derive information regarding case distribution and risk of second cancer. The age-adjusted chordoma incidence rate (IR) of 0.08 per 100,000 was age-dependent, more common in males (IR 0.10) than females (IR 0.06) and rare among patients aged <40 years and blacks. Within the axial skeleton 32% of cases were cranial, 32.8% spinal and 29.2% sacral. Young age (<26 years; p = 0.0001) and female sex (p = 0.037) were associated with greater likelihood of cranial presentation. There was no overall increased risk for second primary cancers after chordoma. Median survival was 6.29 years; 5- and 10-year relative survival rates were 67.6% and 39.9%, respectively. Comparison with other bone sarcomas revealed racial disparities in incidence for the two developmental tumors, chordoma and Ewing's sarcoma. This study provides new data regarding incidence and survival patterns of chordoma in the US. Additional epidemiologic studies are required to elucidate the genetic and environmental determinants underlying this rare, distinctive neoplasm.
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              Chordoma: the nonsarcoma primary bone tumor.

              Chordomas are rare, slowly growing, locally aggressive neoplasms of bone that arise from embryonic remnants of the notochord. These tumors typically occur in the axial skeleton and have a proclivity for the spheno-occipital region of the skull base and sacral regions. In adults, 50% of chordomas involve the sacrococcygeal region, 35% occur at the base of the skull near the spheno-occipital area, and 15% are found in the vertebral column. Craniocervical chordomas most often involve the dorsum sella, clivus, and nasopharynx. Chordomas are divided into conventional, chondroid, and dedifferentiated types. Conventional chordomas are the most common. They are characterized by the absence of cartilaginous or additional mesenchymal components. Chondroid chordomas contain both chordomatous and chondromatous features, and have a predilection for the spheno-occipital region of the skull base. This variant accounts for 5%-15% of all chordomas and up to 33% of cranial chordomas. Dedifferentiation or sarcomatous transformation occurs in 2%-8% of chordomas. This can develop at the onset of the disease or later. Aggressive initial therapy improves overall outcome. Patients who relapse locally have a poor prognosis but both radiation and surgery can be used as salvage therapy. Subtotal resection can result in a stable or improved status in as many as 50% of patients who relapse after primary therapy. Radiation therapy may also salvage some patients with local recurrence. One series reported a 2-year actuarial local control rate of 33% for patients treated with proton beam irradiation.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                August 2020
                15 June 2020
                : 110
                : 9-10
                : 836-847
                aDepartment of Neurosurgery, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
                bInstitute of Neuropathology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
                cDepartment of Neurosurgery, Aix-Marseille University, APHM, CHU Timone, Marseille, France
                Author notes
                *Natalia Kremenevski, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Schwabachanlage 6, DE–91054 Erlangen (Germany), natalia.kremenevskaja@uk-erlangen.de
                509386 Neuroendocrinology 2020;110:836–847
                © 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 3, Pages: 12
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