Pathological and Clinical Features and Management of Central Nervous System Hemangioblastomas in von Hippel-Lindau Disease

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Hiroshi Kanno
Natsuki Kobayashi
Satoshi Nakanowatari


Hemangioblastoma, VHL, von Hippel-Lindau disease


Central nervous system (CNS) hemangioblastoma is the most common manifestation of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease. It is found in 70-80% of VHL patients. Hemangioblastoma is a rare form of benign vascular tumor of the CNS, accounting for 2.0% of CNS tumors. It can occur sporadically or as a familial syndrome. CNS hemangioblastomas are typically located in the posterior fossa and the spinal cord. VHL patients usually develop a CNS hemangioblastoma at an early age. Therefore, they require a special routine for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. The surgical management of symptomatic tumors depends on many factors such as symptom, location, multiplicity, and progression of the tumor. The management of asymptomatic tumors in VHL patients is controversial since CNS hemangioblastomas grow with intermittent quiescent and rapid-growth phases. Preoperative embolization of large solid hemangioblastomas prevents perioperative hemorrhage but is not necessary in every case. Radiotherapy should be reserved for inoperable tumors. Because of complexities of VHL, a better understanding of the pathological and clinical features of hemangioblastoma in VHL is essential for its proper management.

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