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Kristin Huntoon, Tianxia Wu, J. Bradley Elder, John A. Butman, Emily Y. Chew, W. Marston Linehan, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

OBJECT

Peritumoral cysts are frequently associated with CNS hemangioblastomas and often underlie neurological morbidity and mortality. To determine their natural history and clinical impact, the authors prospectively analyzed hemangioblastoma-associated peritumoral cysts in patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease.

METHODS

Patients with VHL disease who had 2 or more years of follow-up and who were enrolled in a prospective study at the National Institutes of Health were included. Serial prospectively acquired laboratory, genetic, imaging, and clinical data were analyzed.

RESULTS

One hundred thirty-two patients (of 225 in the VHL study with at least 2 years of follow-up) had peritumoral cysts that were followed for more than 2 years (total of 292 CNS peritumoral cysts). The mean age at study entrance was 37.4 ± 13.1 years ([mean ± SD], median 37.9, range 12.3–65.1 years). The mean follow-up was 7.0 ± 1.7 years (median 7.3, range 2.1–9.0 years). Over the study period, 121 of the 292 peritumoral cysts (41.4%) became symptomatic. Development of new cysts was associated with a larger number cysts at study enrollment (p = 0.002) and younger age (p < 0.0001). Cyst growth rate was associated with anatomical location (cerebellum cysts grew faster than spine and brainstem cysts; p = 0.0002 and p = 0.0008), younger age (< 35 years of age; p = 0.0006), and development of new neurological symptoms (p < 0.0001). Cyst size at symptom production depended on anatomical location (p < 0.0001; largest to smallest were found, successively, in the cerebellum, spinal cord, and brainstem). The most common location for peritumoral cysts was the cerebellum (184 cysts [63%]; p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

Peritumoral cysts frequently underlie symptom formation that requires surgical intervention in patients with VHL disease. Development of new cysts was associated with a larger number of cysts at study enrollment and younger age. Total peritumoral cyst burden was associated with germline partial deletion of the VHL gene.

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Russell R. Lonser, John A. Butman, Kristin Huntoon, Ashok R. Asthagiri, Tianxia Wu, Kamran D. Bakhtian, Emily Y. Chew, Zhengping Zhuang, W. Marston Linehan and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

The tumors most frequently associated with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease are hemangioblastomas. While they are associated with significant neurological impairment and mortality, their natural history and optimal management have not been fully defined.

Methods

Patients with VHL were enrolled in a prospective study designed to define the natural history of CNS hemangioblastomas. In the present analysis, serial imaging, laboratory, genetic, and clinical data were evaluated in those with at least 2 years of follow-up data.

Results

At study entrance 225 patients (111 males, 114 females) harbored 1921 CNS hemangioblastomas in the supratentorial compartment (21 tumors [1%]), cerebellum (865 [45%]), brainstem (129 [7%]), spinal cord (689 [36%]), cauda equina (212 [11%]), and nerve roots (5 [0.3%]; follow-up 15,819 hemangioblastoma-years). Increased tumor burden was associated with partial deletions in the VHL gene (p = 0.005) and male sex (p = 0.002). Hemangioblastoma development (median 0.3 new tumors/year) was associated with younger age (p < 0.0001) and more tumors at study entrance (p < 0.0001). While 1278 hemangioblastomas (51%) did not grow, 1227 hemangioblastomas (49%) grew in a saltatory (886 [72%]), linear (76 [6%]), or exponential (264 [22%]) pattern. Faster tumor growth was associated with male sex (p = 0.001), symptomatic tumors (p < 0.0001), and tumors associated with cysts (p < 0.0001). Location-dependent tumor size was the primary predictor of eventual symptom formation (159 symptomatic tumors [6.3%]; area under the curve > 0.9).

Conclusions

Central nervous system hemangioblastoma burden in VHL is associated with partial germline deletions and male sex. Unpredictable growth of hemangioblastomas compromises assessment of nonsurgical therapies. The judicious treatment of symptom-producing hemangioblastomas, while avoiding unnecessary treatment of asymptomatic tumors that may not progress, can provide clinical stability. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00005902 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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S. Taylor Jarrell, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, W. Marston Linehan, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Patients with hereditary cancer syndromes may be at increased risk for the development of tumor-to-tumor metastases. To gain insight into the biological nature of these lesions in the central nervous system (CNS), to determine their prevalence in a familial neoplasia syndrome, and to better define their management, the authors retrospectively examined a series of cases in which metastatic lesions developed within hemangioblastomas in patients with von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) disease.

Methods

The study included all cases of VHL disease in which patients underwent resection of a CNS hemangioblastoma that contained a metastasis or were found at autopsy to have a metastasis to a hemangioblastoma between January 2002 and December 2005 at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Clinical, histopathological, imaging, and surgical and/or autopsy findings were analyzed.

Metastasis to a CNS hemangioblastoma was found in six resected tumors (8% of all hemangioblastomas resected from patients with VHL disease at the NINDS during the study period) from six patients (five women, one man; mean age at surgery 42.5 years). The primary site of metastatic disease was the kidney in five patients (renal cell carcinoma) and the pancreas in one (a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor). Only one patient had systemic metastases at the time of resection of the hemangioblastoma containing the metastasis. Neurologically, all patients had remained at baseline or were improved at last clinical follow-up examination (mean follow-up duration 16.5 months, range 3–40 months). In all cases, postoperative imaging revealed that the hemangioblastoma resection was complete, and there was no evidence of recurrence in any of the patients at the last follow up. Two patients (including one who was also in the surgical group) were found at autopsy to have CNS metastases exclusively to spinal hemangioblastomas.

Conclusions

Hemangioblastomas are an early and preferred site for metastasis in VHL disease. Emerging histopathological techniques may lead to recognition of an increasing number of cases of tumor-to-hemangioblastoma metastasis. Management of cases involving tumor-to-hemangioblastoma metastases in VHL disease should be based on the histological characteristics of the primary tumor, extent of the primary disease, and completeness of the resection.

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Daniel Choo, Lawrence Shotland, Maryann Mastroianni, Gladys Glenn, Carter van Waes, W. Marston Linehan and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. Von Hippel—Lindau (VHL) disease is a hereditary multiple-neoplasia syndrome mapping to chromosome 3p25–26. Endolymphatic sac (ELS) tumors have been identified as a neoplastic manifestation of VHL disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate comprehensively the natural history of inner ear disease in a large population of patients with confirmed or suspected VHL disease and to correlate the clinical features with the VHL genotype.

Methods. The authors collated and analyzed clinical and genotypic data obtained in patients enrolled in an Institutional Review Board—approved protocol in which families and individuals affected by VHL disease were studied. These data included results from multidisciplinary history workups and physical examinations, imaging studies, and a battery of audiological tests.

One hundred seventy-five patients were enrolled in the study, 129 with confirmed VHL disease and 46 of their family members in whom test results for VHL disease were negative and who served as controls. Twenty-one patients had ELS tumors that were evident on magnetic resonance images; three of them had bilateral ELS lesions. Hearing loss, often sudden in onset and severe to profound in nature, vestibulopathy, aural fullness, and tinnitus represented the primary symptoms of ELS tumor. Distinct patterns of auditory and vestibular dysfunction occurred at different stages of the disease. Phenotypic data showed that 17 of 21 patients with ELS tumors did not have pheochromocytomas, whereas all had VHL disease affecting the kidney, all but two had VHL disease affecting the central nervous system, and all but one had disease affecting the pancreas. Genotyping revealed 10 rearrangements (partial deletions), eight single bp substitutions, and one 3-bp insertion. Although there was no difference in the incidence of hearing loss between populations, symptoms of imbalance and aural fullness were more common in patients with VHL disease but without imaging evidence of ELS tumor than they were in family members who did not have VHL disease (p < 0.01).

Conclusions. Endolymphatic sac tumors are frequently associated with VHL disease. Symptoms of disequilibrium or aural fullness in patients with VHL disease may be an early indication of endolymphatic dysfunction. Patients with VHL disease provide a unique opportunity to examine the effects of specific gene mutations and a discrete neoplastic process on the human inner ear. The study of ELS tumors in this group also provides a pathological model of ELS function and supplies evidence for a role of the ELS in clinical Ménière-like disease(s).