SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.70 issue11Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type 3 in non-Jewish childIntracerebral microbleeds in sepsis: susceptibility-weighted MR imaging findings author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



  • English (pdf)
  • English (epdf)
  • Article in xml format
  • Article references
  • How to cite this article
  • SciELO Analytics
  • Curriculum ScienTI
  • Automatic translation


Related links


Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria

Print version ISSN 0004-282X

Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. vol.70 no.11 São Paulo Nov. 2012 



Subcostal schwannoma in pregnancy


Schwannoma subcostal na gravidez



Júverson Alves Terra JúniorI; Edmilson Rodrigo DanezeII; Guilherme Azevedo TerraIII; Renata Margarida EtchebehereIV; Aldo Benjamim Rodrigues BarbosaV; Sílvia Azevedo TerraVI, *

IMD, Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM), Uberaba MG, Brazil
IIVeterinarian, Faculdade Doutor Francisco Maeda (FAFRAM/FE), Ituverava SP, Brazil
IIIMedical Student, Department of Surgery, Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM), Uberaba MG, Brazil
IVPhD, Professor of Pathology, Department of Pathology, Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM), Uberaba MG, Brazil
VMD, Radiologist, Department of Radiology. Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Ituverava, Ituverava SP, Brazil
VIPhD, Professor of Pathology, Department of Pathology, Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM), Uberaba MG, Brazil




The schwannoma is a supporting cells tumor of peripheral nervous system, characterized by the formation of grayish, firm, circumscribed and usually solitary masses, which is located close to the roots of cranial and spinal nerves. Most of them have a benign character1.



A 27-year-old Caucasian female, with pregnancy at term, who was subjected to routine ultrasound, which observed the presence of hyperechoic lesion at the left hypochondrium along the costal margin, in intimate contact with the abdominal wall. The surgical evaluation detected the presence of a hardened, fixed, painless lesion, which became more prominent after effort maneuver. Clinical follow-up was kept until delivery.

One month postpartum, the patient was submitted to computed tomography (CT) scan, which observed an hypodense lesion, closely related to the 20th left rib, measuring 8x4 cm, in close contact with the diaphragm (Fig 1A). After preoperative evaluation, left lombotomy was performed, which found the neoplasm related to the left subcostal nerve. The lesion was completely excised and submitted to anatomopathological analysis (Fig 1B). The patient recovered satisfactorily after the surgery.



Schwannoma is a rare neoplasm involving the spinal cord and its roots, being responsible for 27% of the spinal tumours. It can affect children and adults2, usually between the third and fifth decades of life with equal incidence on both sexes3.

The pregnancy has no significant effect on the incidence and behaviour of gliomas. However, pregnancy appears to increase its growth. About 70% of gliomas have progesterone receptors and 30% have estrogen receptors. Unfortunately, there is lack of documented reports on accelerated cancer growth during pregnancy.

The occurrence of schwannomas during pregnancy rests on the hypothesis of a possible hormonal influence on the growth of a subset of Schwann cells, due to the presence of progesterone receptors. Progesterone levels increase during pregnancy, which may explain their accelerated growth.

Physiological changes during pregnancy may mask the symptoms, as clinical manifestations depend on the size of the mass and on its anatomical location4. Our patient did not report pain even after effort maneuver, which made the lesion prominent.

In symptomatic cases located in the chest wall, the most frequently reported symptoms are nonproductive cough, dyspnea, backache, and dysphagia, depending on the anatomic site involved3.

Clinical follow-up until delivery was chosen as the lesion had no apparent risks for the mother and for the fetus. Once malignancy is extremely rare in these neoplasms, surgical excision is indicated. There was no indication of radiotherapy, due to the neoplasm slow growth rate and its nonresponse to this treatment, besides the possibility of miscarriage and birth defects.

The anatomopathological analysis related hardened consistency lesion, fixed, limited and well-defined, with cystic formation and content with mucous aspect (Fig 1B).

The histopathological analysis observed two characteristic growth patterns, with fusiform tumoral cells arranged in palisades, forming the Verocay bodies1,3, with elongated cell shape and regular oval nuclei, both positive for S-100 protein on the immunohistochemical.



1. Rodriguez CA, Munhoz AHN, Zampier JA, Silva APG, Fustes OH. Schwannoma benigno do nervo intercostal simulando neoplasia de pulmão. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2004;62:1100-1103.         [ Links ]

2. McClenathan JH, Bloom RJ. Peripheral tumors of the intercostal nerves. Ann ThoracSurg 2004;78:713-714.         [ Links ]

3. Henn LA, Gonzaga RV, Crestani J, Cerski MR. Schwannoma intercostal simulando neoplasia pulmonar. Rev Ass Med Brasil 1998;44:146-148.         [ Links ]

4. Sakuray H, Hada M, Mitsui T, Ashizawa I. Extratoracic neurilenoma of the lateral chest wall mimicking a subcutaneous tumor: report of a case. Ann Thoracic Cardiovasc Surg 2006;12:133-136.         [ Links ]



Júverson Alves Terra Júnior
Department of Surgery
Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM)
Avenida Frei Paulino 30
38025-180 Uberaba MG - Brasil

Received 04 May 2012
Received in final form 11 May 2012
Accepted 18 May 2012
Conflict of interest: There is no conflict of interest to declare.



* in memoriam.

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License