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craniospinal hemangioblastoma, natural history, radiographic diagnosis, surgical resection, von Hippel–Lindau syndrome
Hemangioblastomas are rare and benign tumors accounting for less than 2% of all central nervous system (CNS) tumors. The vast majority of hemangioblastomas occur sporadically, whereas a small number of cases, especially in younger patients, are associated with Von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) syndrome. It is thought that loss of tumor suppressor function of the VHL gene results in stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor alpha with downstream activation of cellular proliferative and angiogenic genes that promote tumorigenesis. VHL-related hemangioblastomas predominantly occur in the cerebellum and spine. Lesions are often diagnosed on contrast-enhanced craniospinal MRIs, and the diagnosis of VHL occurs through assessment for germline VHL mutations. Surgical resection remains the primary treatment modality for symptomatic or worrisome lesions, with excellent local control rates and neurological outcomes. Stereotactic radiotherapy can be employed in patients who are deemed high risk for surgery, have multiple lesions, or have non-resectable lesions. Given the tendency for development of either new or multiple lesions, close radiographic surveillance is often recommended for asymptomatic lesions.