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Grosshans, H. K.; Huttner, A. J.; Piepmeier, J. M.; Kaulen, L. D.; Fulbright, R. K.; Baehring, J. M. and Karschnia, P. (2020): Primary melanotic tumors of the nervous system: a consecutive case series. In: European Journal of Neurology, Vol. 27, No. 11: pp. 2303-2307

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Background and purpose: Primary melanotic tumors of the nervous system (PMTNS) are thought to be an exceedingly rare group of tumors not captured by tumor registries. We aimed to determine relative incidence, clinical presentation, diagnostic findings, patient management, and outcome. Methods We retrospectively searched the database of the Section of Neuro-Oncology at the Yale Cancer Center for patients with primary or metastatic melanotic lesions of the nervous system. For patients with PMTNS, we recorded demographic data, clinical presentation, histopathological and imaging findings, therapy, and outcome. Results A total of 116 patients with melanotic lesions were identified, including four patients with PMTNS. The relative incidence of PMTNS was therefore calculated as 3.4%. Histology of PMTNS patients revealed melanocytoma in three patients and psammomatous melanotic schwannoma in one patient. Symptoms were non-specific and attributed to tumor mass effect. Magnetic resonance imaging showed hyperintensity on pre-contrast T1-weighted imaging, hypointensity on T2-weighted imaging, and homogenous contrast enhancement in all PMTNS patients. Definitive diagnosis was based on tissue analysis, with detection of melanin-containing cells on conventional histology and S100-positivity on immunohistochemistry. Molecular analysis for GNAQ(Q209L)mutation assisted in establishing diagnosis when only small amounts of tissue were available. Aggressive surgical treatment showed favorable outcomes in all cases;radiation therapy was used for residual or relapsed disease. The median follow-up was 7.5 +/- 5 years, and all patients were alive on the day of database closure. Conclusion Primary melanotic tumors of the nervous system are rare nervous system tumors. Outcome appears excellent, and complete surgical resection may form the basis for favorable outcome. Radiation therapy may represent a therapeutic approach for residual or relapsed disease.

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