gms | German Medical Science

57th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery
Joint Meeting with the Japanese Neurosurgical Society

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

11 - 14 May, Essen

Chordoma of the base of the skull

Chordome der Schädelbasis

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author C. Herold - INI Hannover
  • M. Samii - INI Hannover
  • O. Bundschuh - INI Hannover
  • A. Samii - INI Hannover

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Japanische Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 57. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e.V. (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit der Japanischen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Essen, 11.-14.05.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocSO.07.01

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: May 8, 2006

© 2006 Herold et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: We present a consecutive series of 49 patients with skull base chordoma.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of 29 male and 20 female patients (mean age 39.0±15 years) who underwent a total of 85 operations between 1979 and 2002 in Nordstadtkrankenhaus Hannover.

Results: Most patients presented preoperatively with abducens nerve palsy (45%). A large variety of approaches were used, most often the transethmoidal approach (36.3%) followed by the pterional approach (23.4%) and the retrosigmoid approach (23.4%). Neuroradiological analysis of 26 patients showed a mean volume of 23.4 ml, with all tumours arising from the midline and involving the clivus. Lateral extension to the petrous bone was present in 54%. Tumour removal was radical in 49% of all and in 78% of the primary surgical procedures. In 37 patients a follow-up with a mean interval of 63 months after primary surgery could be obtained. 51% of these patients received various types of radiation therapy. Seventeen patients are still alive with a mean Karnofsky index of 90%. Neither the lengthening of the time between initial surgery and re-operation for tumour recurrence, nor the increase of the overall survival turned out to be statistically significant in patients who underwent radical surgery as opposed to non radical surgery. However, the clinical outcome was significantly better following non radical tumour removal. The overall 5 and 10 year survival rates are 65% and 39%.

Conclusions: Although the aim should be a maximal cytoreduction, it should not compromise quality of life since skull base chordomas cannot be cured surgically and radical tumour removal does not increase significantly survival rates in patients with skull base chordomas.