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Federico Roncaroli, Bernd W. Scheithauer and Savvas Papazoglou

✓ A case of polymorphous hemangioendothelioma of the spinal cord is described. This 55-year-old woman presented with an 18-month history of lower-extremity sensorimotor deficit. A magnetic resonance image revealed an enhancing, intradural, extramedullary nodule at the T1–2 level. On gross inspection, the lesion measured 3.5 cm and was firmly attached to spinal cord parenchyma and adjacent nerve roots. It was completely removed. Fourteen months after surgery the patient's neurological deficit had resolved. Polymorphous hemangioendothelioma is a rare vascular tumor of borderline malignancy. Most occur in lymph nodes. None has been reported to occur in the central and peripheral nervous system. Based on current experience, resection and close follow up seems the best therapeutic approach.

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Federico Roncaroli, Bernd W. Scheithauer and H. Gordon Deen Jr.

✓ A case of multiple hemangiomas of the cauda equina nerve roots, conus medullaris, and lower spinal cord is described. The 74-year-old male patient presented with a 9-month history of progressive bilateral leg weakness. He had a history of lymphoma at the age of 39 years and renal cell carcinoma in his early 40s. Neither disease was evident at the time of this presentation. A magnetic resonance image revealed multiple enhancing nodules in the cauda equina region as well as on the pial surface of the lower thoracic spinal cord and conus medullaris. The patient underwent an L2–3 laminectomy. Cauda equina nerve roots were found to be studded with numerous purple nodules, the largest measuring 6 to 8 mm. The nodules were adherent to nerve roots from which they could not be resected. Two lesions were histologically examined and found to be capillary hemangiomas. Twelve months into an uneventful postoperative course, the patient is neurologically unchanged. This unique case might represent a distinct form of hemangiomatosis confined to the cauda equina nerve roots and spinal cord.

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Federico Roncaroli, Bernd W. Scheithauer and William E. Krauss

Object. Hemangiomas of the spinal nerve roots are rare. Only 12 cases have been reported in the literature, all since 1965. These lesions occurred in adults, primarily in males, and were located in the cauda equina. Of the 12 lesions, eight were cavernous hemangiomas. The authors report here the clinicopathological features of 10 cases of hemangioma of the spinal nerve root, nine of which were of the capillary type.

Methods. The group included six men and four women who ranged in age from 40 to 62 years. The majority of patients presented with pain and weakness. One patient also experienced worsening of pain during menses. In all cases, gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography myelography demonstrated a discrete intraspinal extramedullary mass. Administration of contrast agent resulted in uniform, intense enhancement. A gross-total resection was achieved in all but one case; in most cases, it was necessary to sacrifice the parent nerve root. Preoperative symptoms and signs improved in nine cases. On histological examination, all but one tumor, a spindle-cell hemangioendothelioma, were shown to be ordinary capillary hemangiomas. Two lesions exhibited a cavernous component, and five showed a partly solid growth pattern resembling juvenile capillary hemangioma. In all cases, the relationship with the nerve root was histologically confirmed. The tumor—nerve relation varied. The intact nerve was displaced by the epineurial mass in three cases. The fascicles appeared separated in six cases, and individual nerve fibers were seen throughout one lesion with endoneurial involvement.

Conclusions. Hemangiomas of spinal nerve roots pose a challenging diagnostic problem. Knowledge of their existence is relevant in that they may mimic tumors and are amenable to surgical treatment.

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Federico Roncaroli, Bernd W. Scheithauer and William E. Krauss

✓ The authors describe the clinicopathological features of four cases of capillary hemangioma of the spinal cord. All occurred in adult patients. The presenting symptoms were similar to those of more common intramedullary tumors. Radiologically, they resemble other vascular spinal cord tumors. All patients underwent surgery, and the outcomes varied. Histologically, the lesions resembled capillary hemangioma of skin or of soft tissue that is composed of lobules of small capillaries with associated feeding vessels, all enveloped by a delicate fibrous capsule. Capillary hemangiomas of the central and peripheral nervous system are extremely rare. Although examples of these lesions have been described as occurring in the dura mater and in peripheral nerve, including spinal nerve roots, none has occurred within the spinal cord. Knowledge of their existence may help practitioners to avoid misdiagnosis of tumor and resultant overtreatment of these benign lesions.

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Claudio Agostinelli, Federico Roncaroli, Ercole Galassi, Bruno Bernardi, Nicola Acciarri and Giovanni Tani

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Cerebral coenurosis

Case illustration

Sergio Sabattani, Anna Federica Marliani, Federico Roncaroli, Mino Zucchelli, Andrea Zini, Fabio Calbucci and Francesco Chiodo

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Federico Roncaroli, Vania Nosé, Bernd W. Scheithauer, Kalman Kovacs, Eva Horvath, William F. Young Jr., Ricardo V. Lloyd, Mary C. Bishop, Bradley Hsi and Jonathan A. Fletcher

✓ The authors report on two gonadotropic carcinomas of the adenohypophysis that occurred in a 55-year-old man (Case 1) and a 53-year-old woman (Case 2), with signs of mass effect and amenorrhea, respectively. Both lesions were macroadenomas. The tumor in Case 1 metastasized to dura mater, skull, nasal sinus, and larynx 2 years after patient presentation, whereas that in Case 2 spread to vertebral bodies and ribs after a 19-year latency. Histologically, the primary, recurrent, and metastatic lesions in Case 1 featured brisk mitotic activity and high MIB-1 levels as well as p53 labeling indices. Immunoreactivity for HER-2/neu was assessable only in rare neoplastic cells of the second recurrence and in 80% of cells of the dural metastasis. Low-level HER-2/neu gene amplification was evident in the recurrent tumors and metastasis. The sellar and metastatic tumors in Case 2 resembled benign gonadotropic adenoma with oncocytic change; p53 accumulation, HER-2/neu overexpression, and HER-2/neu gene amplification were not present. The results indicate that low-level amplification of the HER-2/neu gene might be associated with pituitary carcinomas in which more aggressive behavior is seen. Further studies are needed to determine whether HER-2/neu plays a role in the pathogenesis of pituitary carcinoma.

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Jamie J. Van Gompel, Kelly K. Koeller, Fredric B. Meyer, W. Richard Marsh, Peter C. Burger, Federico Roncaroli, Gregory A. Worrell and Caterina Giannini


Supratentorial cortical ependymomas (CE) are rare, with 7 cases reported. The lesions, typically occurring in the superficial cortex in young adults and associated with a history of seizures, are not fully characterized. Furthermore, their relationship with the recently described angiocentric glioma (AG) is still being debated. This study was undertaken to summarize the authors' experience with CEs.


Between 1997 and 2009, 202 cases of ependymoma were surgically treated at the Mayo Clinic, 49 of which were supratentorial. Among these, 9 CE cases were retrospectively identified. Clinical, imaging, and pathological features of each case were reviewed.


Tumors arose from the frontal (5 cases), parietal (3), and occipital (1) lobes. No tumor occurred in the temporal lobe, despite its reported association with seizures. The mean age at presentation was 27 ± 19 years (± SD) and age at resection was 36 ± 16 years. The mean size of the lesion was 16 ± 14 cm3. Seizures were the presenting symptom in 78%. Cross-sectional imaging in 8 cases was characterized by a heterogeneous mass with multiple cystlike areas and enhancement of the soft-tissue component. Gross-total resection was achieved in 8 of 9 tumors. Pathologically, 6 were low-grade (WHO Grade II) and 3 were anaplastic (WHO Grade III) ependymomas. All tumors exhibited the focal presence of perivascular pseudorosettes, but only 1 (11%) exhibited the focal presence of a true rosette. A bipolar spindle cell component resembling AG was present in 3 (33%) and “Schwannian-like” nodules in 2 (22%). Subpial aggregation and peripheral infiltration were present in 4 cases (44%). With a mean postsurgery follow-up of 62 ± 38 months, only 2 lesions recurred locally after imaging-confirmed gross-total resection, both being Grade III. In 5 (71%) of 7 patients presenting with seizures an Engel Class I outcome was achieved.


Cortical ependymomas represent a rare type of ependymoma occurring superficially in the cortex. Morphologically, these tumors are protean, varying from classic to epithelioid, clear cell, and tanycytic. Some also exhibited features typical of AG. Most tumors were low grade and cured with resection. Anaplastic tumors occur and may recur locally despite provision of radiation therapy. Cortical ependymomas frequently, but not always, present with seizures, but despite their high association with epilepsy, none occurred in the temporal lobe in any of the authors' 9 patients. Overall, CEs appear to have a relatively favorable prognosis compared with other supratentorial ependymomas.

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Daniel Lewis, Carmine A. Donofrio, Claire O’Leary, Ka-loh Li, Xiaoping Zhu, Ricky Williams, Ibrahim Djoukhadar, Erjon Agushi, Cathal J. Hannan, Emma Stapleton, Simon K. Lloyd, Simon R. Freeman, Andrea Wadeson, Scott A. Rutherford, Charlotte Hammerbeck-Ward, D. Gareth Evans, Alan Jackson, Omar N. Pathmanaban, Federico Roncaroli, Andrew T. King and David J. Coope


Inflammation and angiogenesis may play a role in the growth of sporadic and neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2)–related vestibular schwannoma (VS). The similarities in microvascular and inflammatory microenvironment have not been investigated. The authors sought to compare the tumor microenvironment (TME) in sporadic and NF2-related VSs using a combined imaging and tissue analysis approach.


Diffusion MRI and high-temporal-resolution dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI data sets were prospectively acquired in 20 NF2-related and 24 size-matched sporadic VSs. Diffusion metrics (mean diffusivity, fractional anisotropy) and DCE-MRI–derived microvascular biomarkers (transfer constant [Ktrans], fractional plasma volume, tissue extravascular-extracellular space [ve], longitudinal relaxation rate, tumoral blood flow) were compared across both VS groups, and regression analysis was used to evaluate the effect of tumor size, pretreatment tumor growth rate, and tumor NF2 status (sporadic vs NF2-related) on each imaging parameter. Tissues from 17 imaged sporadic VSs and a separate cohort of 12 NF2-related VSs were examined with immunohistochemistry markers for vessels (CD31), vessel permeability (fibrinogen), and macrophage density (Iba1). The expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptor 1 was evaluated using immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and double immunofluorescence.


Imaging data demonstrated that DCE-MRI–derived microvascular characteristics were similar in sporadic and NF2-related VSs. Ktrans (p < 0.001), ve (p ≤ 0.004), and tumoral free water content (p ≤ 0.003) increased with increasing tumor size and pretreatment tumor growth rate. Regression analysis demonstrated that with the exception of mean diffusivity (p < 0.001), NF2 status had no statistically significant effect on any of the imaging parameters or the observed relationship between the imaging parameters and tumor size (p > 0.05). Tissue analysis confirmed the imaging metrics among resected sporadic VSs and demonstrated that across all VSs studied, there was a close association between vascularity and Iba1+ macrophage density (r = 0.55, p = 0.002). VEGF was expressed by Iba1+ macrophages.


The authors present the first in vivo comparative study of microvascular and inflammatory characteristics in sporadic and NF2-related VSs. The imaging and tissue analysis results indicate that inflammation is a key contributor to TME and should be viewed as a therapeutic target in both VS groups.