Clinical classification of clival chordomas for transnasal approaches

Neurosurgical Review (2020) 43:1201–1210

Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) are ideal for most chordomas, but there is little information regarding the practical clinical classification of clival chordomas to guide surgery with EEAs. This article investigates a relatively concise and practical clinical classification system for clival chordomas and summarizes the clinical characteristics and operative key points of different clinical types.

Here, 55 patients with clival chordomas treated through EEAs from 2012 to 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. Depending on the origin of the notochord and the growth pattern of the tumor, with our introduced Wang’s line, these cases of clival chordoma were divided into types I–IV. There were 14 cases of type I-A, 7 cases of type I-B, 10 cases of type II, 10 cases of type III-A, 7 cases of type III-B, and 7 cases of type IV. The gross total resection (GTR) rate of primary and recurrent type I tumors was 64% and 25%, and residual tumors were found mainly in cases with involvement of the cavernous sinus or the posterior upper part of the dorsum sella. The GTR rate of primary and recurrent type II tumors was 85% and 66.6%, respectively. Residual tumors were found in cases with involvement of the petrous apex. The GTR rate of primary and recurrent type III tumors was 75%and 20%, and residual tumors were found in cases with involvement of the parapharyngeal space and dorsal side of C1– 2. Residual type I-B and type III-B tumors were found when there was BA or VA adhesion or brain stem invasion.

Our new classification method proposed here can be used to guide the resection of clival chordomas through EEAs.