Sarcoma of the cervical spine after radiation treatment for thyroid cancer

Chao Kai Hu, Lu Ting Kuo, Wei Chen Hong, Jen Chieh Lee, Yong Kwang Tu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Study Design: Case report. Objective: We report a rare case of postradiation sarcoma of the cervical spine 30 years after treatment for thyroid cancer. Summary of Background Data: The reported case is a 66-year-old man with a history of thyroid cancer treated with surgery and radiotherapy at the age of 36 years. He was disease-free for 30 years, but then developed left upper limb weakness and numbness. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a homogeneously enhanced mass lesion with cystic parts involving the C4 vertebral body and occupying the left side of the spinal canal with extension to the paraspinal space through the neural foramen. Methods: Using staged posterior and anterior approaches, gross total tumor excision, C4 corpectomy, and spinal fusion were achieved. Results: The histologic diagnosis revealed sarcoma that was immunoreactive to vimentin and focally to S100 and O13 antibodies. Radiation-induced sarcoma should be suspected in patients who have received radiation treatment previously and present with new neurologic symptoms and signs in the irradiated area. The patient's muscle power returned to 5/5, except for the left upper extremity, which reached 2/5; he was free from recurring symptoms during the follow-up period. Conclusion: Because of advancements in diagnostic techniques and therapeutic Methods, more patients survive primary cancer, and therefore an increase in the number of cases of postradiation sarcoma is expected. Postradiation sarcomas have extremely long latent periods, and one should therefore always keep in mind such a complication of previous radiation treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E363-E367
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical spine
  • Postradiation
  • Sarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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