Desmoplastic small round cell tumor: A rare cause of a progressive brachial plexopathy



Introduction: Desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT) is an uncommon, embryonic-type neoplasm, typically presenting as an abdominal mass in young men. A single case of DSRCT arising in the peripheral nervous system has been reported previously. Methods: The clinical course, imaging, electrophysiological, intraoperative, histopathological, molecular findings, and postoperative follow-up are reported. Results: A 43-year-old man presented with slowly progressive right brachial plexopathy. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an enlarged medial cord with heterogeneous contrast enhancement. Histology showed a “small round cell” neoplasm with a polyphenotypic immunoprofile, including epithelial and mesenchymal markers. A pathognomonic fusion of Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1 and Wilms tumor 1 genes (EWSR1/WT1) was present. Treatment involved gross total excision and local radiotherapy. Conclusions: Our findings confirm the occurrence of DSRCT as a primary peripheral nerve tumor. Despite its usually very aggressive clinical course, prolonged recurrence-free survival may be reached. Histomorphology and immunoprofile of DSRCT may lead to misdiagnosis as small cell carcinoma. Muscle Nerve 49: 922–927, 2014