Lesions consistent with cavernous angiomas (CAs) of the brain are sometimes seen on MRI scans of the brains of patients who received radiation therapy for brain tumors as children. The lesions appear years later within brain tissue that was included in radiation fields. It is unclear whether these MRI-detected lesions are true CAs or a pathological variant. This study reports the clinical, radiographical, and pathological findings in 3 cases of radiation-induced CAs of the brain. From 1995 to 1997, 3 patients previously treated with radiation therapy (45-55 Gy) for pediatric brain tumors (medulloblastoma, ependymoma, and a presumed midbrain astrocytoma) underwent resections of symptomatic and enlarging lesions that were consistent with a CA of the brain. All of the lesions occurred within fields of prior irradiation. None of the patients had received chemotherapy as part of their cancer treatment. CA-presenting symptoms included seizures, cranial nerve deficits, and headaches. The lesions appeared 7-19 years after radiation therapy and slowly enlarged on subsequent imaging studies. MRI scans of the lesions revealed characteristics typical of CA. The lesions became symptomatic 1-5 years after they were initially noted. Surgical resection was performed 1-2 years after symptoms began. The age at resection ranged from 15 to 23 years (10-21 years after radiation therapy). Pathological analysis of the three lesions showed typical CA characteristics. Some CAs may be caused by radiation therapy for pediatric brain tumors. They are radiologically and pathologically similar to sporadically occurring CAs of the brain and may enlarge over time and become symptomatic. CAs can be safely resected using standard microsurgical techniques.
- Cavernous angiomas, brain
- Late effects, radiation therapy
- Pediatric brain tumors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Clinical Neurology