Hydrocephalus associated with intramedullary low-grade glioma. Illustrative cases and review of the literature.J Neurosurg. 1995 Sep; 83(3):480-5.JN
Over the past 15 years, eight children affected by intramedullary low-grade gliomas associated with hydrocephalus were treated at l'Hôpital des Enfants Malades. In all cases the diagnosis of hydrocephalus was made prior to that of the spinal tumor. Neuroradiological examination of all patients revealed contrast enhancement of the intracranial subarachnoid spaces. In six cases this was progressive, suggesting subarachnoid spread of the tumor, which was confirmed in two cases by histological examination. The authors analyzed 38 cases of intramedullary low-grade glioma associated with hydrocephalus that were reported in the literature. Fifteen of the cases had intracranial leptomeningeal seeding. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain this unusual association, such as 1) increase in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) viscosity because of elevated fluid protein content; 2) obliteration of the cisterna magna due to a rostral extension of the tumor; and 3) blockage of the spinal subarachnoid pathways of CSF resorption. Two other theories seem of particular interest. Bamford and Labadie suggested that the abnormal presence of fibrinogen in the CSF and its transformation into fibrin at the level of the basal cisterns and Pacchioni's granulation may alter CSF hydrodynamics. This mechanism alone is sufficient to induce hydrocephalus of the communicating type. In addition, as suggested by Maurice-Williams and Lucey, the resulting leptomeningeal fibrosis might predispose secondary implantation of neoplastic elements in the subarachnoid spaces of the intracranial compartment.