Indeterminate Dendritic Cell Tumor in Thoracic Spine: A Case Report

Sze Kiat Tan, Lee Onn Chieng, Karthik Madhavan, Andrew Rosenberg, Ian Cote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Indeterminate dendritic cell tumor (IDCT) is an extremely rare hematologic disorder with poorly understood pathogenesis. Occasionally encountered by hematologists, unusual presentations of IDCT have not been reported in the spine literature. Methods We report a 51-year-old man who presented with a 3-month history of progressively worsening axial thoracic back pain radiating to his sides. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a 3-cm enhancing mass at the T9 vertebral body with an exophytic component causing significant canal stenosis. Initial percutaneous biopsy revealed histiocytic sarcoma. Results The patient underwent exploratory thoracotomy and en bloc resection of the lesion with T8-10 fusion. Final pathology results revealed IDCT with fibrosis. IDCT immunostaining was partially positive for Langerhans cell marker (positive for S100 and CD1a, but lacked Birbeck granules and Langerin stain) and partially positive for blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm. Additionally, it was positive for CD45, CD68, and CD163. Lymphadenopathy was absent in this patient. Conclusions Although first reported in the 1980s, IDCT has been omitted from most classifications owing to its rarity. Hematologists have debated the cell of origin; it is believed to comprise pre–Langerhans cells, as Birbeck granules are acquired after migration to the epidermis. IDCT remains of indeterminate origin. We report the first case of spinal IDCT. Familiarity with the histologic features is warranted to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-547
Number of pages5
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Birbeck granules
  • Epidermotropism
  • Histiocytic sarcoma
  • Indeterminate dendritic cell tumor
  • Langerin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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