A five-month-old male baby presented with an abdominal mass which was found on computerised tomography (CT) to be involving the left kidney. Nephrectomy and histopathological study showed morphological featues of a malignant rhabdoid tumour. The tumour cells stained strongly for cytokeratin and epithelial membrane antigen and less intensely for vimentin. Electron microscopy revealed concentric whorled arrays of intermediate filaments within the tumour cell cytoplasm. The child was put on post-operative chemotherapy and radiotherapy but developed bilateral lung metastases and died three months after surgery.
Brain herniation is generally thought to be unlikely to occur in newborns due to the presence of the patent fontanelles and cranial sutures. A review of the literature published from 1993 to 2008 via MEDLINE search revealed no reports on neonatal brain herniation from intracranial tumour. We report a preterm Malay male infant born via elective Caesarean section for antenatally diagnosed intracerebral tumour, which subsequently developed herniation. Cerebral magnetic resonance imaging showed features that were compatible with a large complex intracranial tumour causing mass effect and gross hydrocephalus. Tumour excision was scheduled when the infant was two weeks old. Unfortunately, on the morning of the surgery, he developed signs of brain herniation and had profuse tumour haemorrhage during the attempted excision. Histopathological examination revealed an embryonal tumour, possibly an atypical rhabdoid/teratoid tumour. This case illustrates that intracranial tumours in newborns can herniate and should therefore be closely monitored.