Nov 6, 2018

Hemangioblastomas of the Posterior Cranial Fossa in Adults: Demographics, Clinical, Morphologic, Pathologic, Surgical Features, and Outcomes. A Systematic Review


- BACKGROUND: Posterior cranial fossa (PCF) hemangioblastomas are benign, highly vascularized, and well-differentiated tumors with well-described histopathologic features. Although relatively rare, this tumor is the most prevalent primary tumor of the cerebellum in adults.

- OBJECTIVE: Because the demographics of patients with such a tumor (as well as the clinical, morphologic, pathologic, surgical features, and outcomes) are not fully understood, we systematized characteristic patient and tumor features.

- METHODS: We undertook a systematic review of the English-language literature in PubMed for PCF hemangioblastomas in adults published in the past 31 years. We analyzed geographic distribution and year of publication of articles; demographic data of patients; presenting symptoms and clinical signs; tumor location and morphology; histopathologic features, extent of tumor resection, perioperative blood loss, and postoperative complications; length of hospital stay; and outcomes.

- RESULTS: We reviewed 207 articles describing 1759 infratentorial hemangioblastomas in a cohort of 1515 adult patients. We found female predominance in patients with Von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHLD) compared with male predominance in the general patient group. Symptoms of intracranial hypertension were more common in the VHLD group compared with the general group of patients. The cerebellar location was more common in the VHLD group and solid (parenchymatous) tumor was the most common type. Most patients underwent total resection but rate of resection did not differ between the general and VHLD groups. Most patients had a favorable outcome.

- CONCLUSIONS: The literature of adult PCF hemangioblastomas is limited and general surgical experience with such tumors is scarce because of their rarity. Rates of postoperative complications and mortality remain higher than expected. However, prognosis and surgical outcomes are generally favorable. Nevertheless, surgery of adult PCF hemangioblastomas is a demanding and challenging task.