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Abstract

Cavernous malformations are cerebrovascular anomalies that may be observed throughout the central nervous system, mainly in the supratentorial location, comprising about 10% of all cerebrovascular lesions. They frequently affect young patients, and may be observed as sporadic form or familial (hereditary) form. They may appear as single or multiple lesions. Most patients who present with the multiple lesions are likely to harbor the hereditary form of the disease. Magnetic resonance imaging is the standard imaging to diagnose the cavernous malformation, as they are angiographically occult. An autosomal-dominant pattern of inheritance with variable penetrance is responsible to the familial form of the disease. There are 4 types of clinical presentation of the cavernous malformation: seizures, headaches, neurologic deficits, and asymptomatic presentation. The treatment consists of microscopic surgical resection assisted by intraoperative neuronavigation, stereotaxy, or ultrasound, with minimal morbidity. Radiosurgery may be considered for patient with multiple hemorrhages from a surgically inaccessible lesion, or in clinically ill patients without health for surgery. We report a series of 29 patients harboring supratentorial cavernous malformations surgically removed, operated from 1999 to 2009, at São Paulo, Brazil, by the same surgical crew, to verify surgery as the primary management strategy.

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We report three cases of patients with cavernous angioma in a series of 32 cases presenting as initial symptoms of aggressive behavior, anxiety and loss of memory. During the investigation they were diagnosed with cavernomas in limbic system. One man and two women with 58, 56 and 60 year-old, who presented the cavernomas respectively in callosum / cingulum area, gyrus rectus area, and cingulate gyrus. They were treated clinically with Carbamazepine 200mg 8/8 hours, Clonazepam 2mg daily, and Sodium Valproate 500 mg 6/6 hours orally. They showed no results for the ictal behavior disorder. However, after surgery with total removal of the cavernomas through a microsurgery the symptoms immediately finished. The authors discuss the possibility of such symptoms to be part of epileptic manifestation or simple compression of limbic pathways. Also is discussed if there is any possibility to those syndromes with cavernomas in different portions of frontal lobe to be caused by disturbance in the input fibers to nucleus accubens and to nucleus of the solitary tract based on literature review. The proximity and inner connections in frontal lobe structures may be analyzed in the light of neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. RESUMO Relatamos três casos de uma série de 32 pacientes com angioma cavernoso que apresentaram sintomas iniciais de comportamento agressivo, ansiedade e perda de memória. Durante a investigação foram diagnosticados como portadores de cavernomas no sistema límbico. Um homem e duas mulheres com idades de 58, 56 e 60 anos de idade, tiveram cavernomas nas áreas do corpo caloso e do giro do cíngulo, no giro reto e no giro do cíngulo, respectivamente. Clinicamente foram tratados com Carbamazepina 200 mg 8/8 horas, Clonazepam 2mg por dia, e Valproato de Sódio 500 mg 6/6 horas por via oral, sem resposta para o distúrbio de comportamento ictal. No entanto, após a cirurgia com remoção total das lesões através de microcirurgia, os sintomas imediatamente desapareceram. Os autores discutem a possibilidade de tais sintomas fazerem parte de manifestação epiléptica ou simples compressão das vias límbicas. Também discutem se há qualquer possibilidade de tais síndromes com cavernomas em diferentes porções do lobo frontal serem causadas por perturbação nas fibras de entrada para o núcleo accubens e núcleo do trato solitário, com base em revisão de literatura. Sua proximidade e conexões internas com estruturas do lobo frontal podem ser analisadas à luz da neurofisiologia e da neuroanatomia.
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Cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) is a Mendelian model of stroke, characterized by focal abnormalities in small intracranial blood vessels leading to hemorrhage and consequent strokes and/or seizures. A significant fraction of cases is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait with incomplete penetrance. Among Hispanic Americans, virtually all CCM is attributable to a founder mutation localized to 7q (CCM1). Recent analysis of non-Hispanic Caucasian kindreds, however, has excluded linkage to 7q in some, indicating at least one additional CCM locus. We now report analysis of linkage in 20 non-Hispanic Caucasian kindreds with familial CCM. In addition to linkage to CCM1, analysis of linkage demonstrates linkage to two new loci, CCM2 at 7p13–15 and CCM3 at 3q25.2–27. Multilocus analysis yields a maximum lod score of 14.11, with 40% of kindreds linked to CCM1, 20% linked to CCM2 and 40% linked to CCM3, with highly significant evidence for linkage to three loci (linkage to three loci supported with an odds ratio of 2.6 × 105:1 over linkage to two loci and 1.6 × 109:1 over linkage to one locus). Multipoint analysis among families with high posterior probabilities of linkage to each locus refines the locations of CCM2 and CCM3 to ∼22 cM intervals. Linkage to these three loci can account for inheritance of CCM in all kindreds studied. Significant locus-specific differences in penetrance are identified. These findings have implications for genetic testing of this disorder and represent an important step toward identification of the molecular basis of this disease.
Article
The long-term results of radiosurgery for cavernous malformations (CMs) are reported. 152 cases (mean age 37.2 years) of symptomatic CMs have been treated with a gamma knife. The majority of them were located in eloquent areas like the brainstem or basal ganglia, followed by lobar and cerebellar lesions. With the mean maximum and marginal dose of 26.4 and 14.9 Gy respectively, 30% showed a shrinkage and the others were unchanged in the mean follow-up of 55.4 months. The hemorrhage rate after radiosurgery considerably decreased to 3.2%/year/case, which is almost one-tenth of that 5 years before gamma knife treatment (31.8%). In fact, the hemorrhage rate was 8% in the first year, then apparently and subsequently decreased to less than 5% and finally reached 0% in the seventh year. Complications were chiefly related to radiation-induced edema in 11.2%. Because of the significantly decreased rate of hemorrhage and acceptable rate of complications, radiosurgery for CM is apparently useful. Copyright (C) 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Article
Stereotactic radiosurgery is a controversial treatment modality in the management of cerebral cavernous malformations (CVMs). Systematic pathological studies of irradiated specimens probably could help to resolve the controversy. Light microscopic investigation of a surgically resected thalamic CVM 1 year after 40-Gy irradiation revealed endothelial cell destruction in the cavernous channels, and marked fibrosis with scar tissue formation in the connective stroma of the lesion. These histopathological findings were similar to those described in arteriovenous malformations after Gamma Knife surgery, and suggest that the ionizing effect of radiation energy evokes vascular and connective tissue stroma changes in CVMs as well.
Article
Cavernous malformations, also known as cavernous angiomas, are a specific type of cerebrovascular anomaly. Cavernous malformations have characteristic pathologic, radiographic, and genetic characteristics. Conservative management, radiation therapy, and surgical resection have been employed in the management of these lesions. In this review, we will discuss various aspects of cavernous malformations. We will present the pathology of the lesion and the differences between normal microvascular architecture and that found in cavernous malformations. We will present the epidemiology, clinical presentation, and natural history of intracranial and spinal cavernous malformations. Radiologic characteristics and the genetic and molecular causes of these lesions will be reviewed. Current treatment strategies will be discussed and controversies will be addressed.
Article
Reviewing the literature and adding one unusual case the features of 164 cerebral cavernous haemangiomas are described with special reference to incidence, localization, diagnosis and clinical findings. Cavernomas may be found in every age group including the neonatal period. The sex incidence is equal. In 126 cases (76.8%) the cavernomas were of supratentorial, in 34 cases (20.7%) of infratentorial site, and in 4 more cases (2.5%) there was multiple occurence of supratentorial and posterior fossa cavernous haemangiomas. A specific clinical syndrome could not be defined: but the course is usually acute or subacute, and initial symptoms are commonly epileptic fits, acute headache and subarachnoid or intracerebral haemorrhage. Macroscopic calcifications of cerebral cavernomas were found only in 18 cases (11%). Cerebral angiography was done in 31 cases (18.9%). In 9 cases angiography was totally normal, and in 11 cases the cavernoma presented only as an avascular mass. In the remaining cases there was no conformity in the angiographic appearance of cerebral cavernous haemangiomas. Operative extirpation is the treatment of choice if a solitary lesion is favourably located. In addition to our patient there are now 21 cases (12.8%) in which cavernomas were treated successfully by operative extirpation.
Article
We studied 24 patients with histologically verified cerebral cavernous malformations, reviewing the familial occurrence and presenting signs, symptoms, and radiographic features of the disorder. Eleven patients had no evidence of a heritable trait and had negative family histories. Thirteen patients were members of six unrelated Mexican-American families. Sixty-four first-degree and second-degree relatives were examined, and family pedigrees were established. Most relatives (83 percent) were asymptomatic; 11 percent had seizures. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 16 relatives (5 of whom were asymptomatic). Fourteen of the 16 studies revealed cavernous malformations; 11 studies identified multiple lesions. As compared with computerized tomography and angiography, magnetic resonance imaging was far more accurate in detecting cavernous malformations. We conclude that cavernous malformations are more prevalent than previously reported, and that a familial form of the disorder exists that is more common than expected, with a high incidence of multiple lesions and an increased frequency of occurrence among Mexican-American families. Magnetic resonance imaging is the radiographic technique of choice for the identification and follow-up of these lesions.
Article
The angiographic, computerized tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings were compared in 10 patients with a total of 16 pathologically verified cavernous angiomas. Only three lesions had abnormal vasculature in the form of venous pooling or a capillary blush. The CT scans were positive in seven patients and detected 14 lesions, while high-field strength (1.5 Tesla) MRI was positive in each case and demonstrated 27 distinct lesions. On T2-weighted MRI, the combination of a reticulated core of mixed signal intensity (SI) with a surrounding rim of decreased SI strongly suggests the diagnosis of a cavernous malformation. Smaller lesions appear as areas of decreased SI (black dots). The sensitivity of MRI is based on magnetic susceptibility and possibly diffusion effects related to field heterogeneity that is more conspicuous on high-field imaging and caused by the presence of excessive iron (hemosiderin).
Article
Cavernous malformations are congenital abnormalities of the cerebral vessels that affect 0.5% to 0.7% of the population. They occur in two forms: a sporadic form characterized by isolated lesions, and a familial form characterized by multiple lesions with an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance. The management of patients with cavernous malformations, particularly those with the familial form of the disease, remains a challenge because little is known regarding the natural history. The authors report the results of an ongoing study in which six families afflicted by familial cavernous malformations have been prospectively followed with serial interviews, physical examinations, and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging at 6- to 12-month intervals. A total of 59 members of these six families were screened for protocol enrollment; 31 (53%) had MR evidence of familial cavernous malformations. Nineteen (61%) of these 31 patients were symptomatic, with seizures in 12 (39%), recurrent headaches in 16 (52%), focal sensory/motor deficits in three (10%), and visual field deficits in two (6%). Twenty-one of these 31 patients underwent at least two serial clinical and MR imaging examinations. A total of 128 individual cavernous malformations (mean 6.5 ± 3.8 lesions/patient) were identified and followed radiographically. During a mean follow-up period of 2.2 years (range 1 to 5.5 years), serial MR images demonstrated 17 new lesions in six (29%) of the 21 patients; 13 lesions (10%) showed changes in signal characteristics, and five lesions (3.9%) changed significantly in size. The incidence of symptomatic hemorrhage was 1.1% per lesion per year. The results of this study demonstrate that the familial form of cavernous malformations is a dynamic disease; serial MR images revealed changes in the number, size, and imaging characteristics of lesions consistent with acute or resolving hemorrhage. It is believed that the de novo development of new lesions in this disease has not been previously reported. These findings suggest that patients with familial cavernous malformations require careful follow-up monitoring, and that significant changes in neurological symptoms warrant repeat MR imaging. Surgery should be considered only for lesions that produce repetitive or progressive symptoms. Prophylactic resection of asymptomatic lesions does not appear to be indicated.
Article
Despite recent studies of the natural history of cavernous malformations, there remains significant uncertainty concerning hemorrhage rates and the importance of lesion location. Controversy arises over varying definitions of “hemorrhage.” What is ultimately important to the patient is the occurrence of a neurological event, which may or may not be associated with radiologically documented hemorrhage, as well as the chance of recovery after such an event. The purpose of this study was to determine the rates of occurrence and sequelae of neurological events in 173 patients referred to our vascular malformation clinic with cavernous malformations. All patient data were entered into a database. The mean age at presentation for the 173 patients was 37.5 years. The lesion location was deep (brainstem, cerebellar nuclei, thalamus, or basal ganglia) in 64 patients (37%) and superficial in 109 (63%). Thirty-one patients (18%) had multiple lesions. Disease presentation was due to seizures in 62 patients (36%), hemorrhage in 44 (25%), focal neurological deficit without documented hemorrhage in 35 (20%), headache alone in 11 (6%), and incidental findings in 21 patients (12%). The results obtained in the 110 patients eligible for follow-up review were used to derive information on the rates of hemorrhage and neurological events. An interval event (neurological deterioration) required both symptoms and signs. The total mean follow-up period was 46 months, the majority (65%) of which was prospective. There were 18 interval events in 427 patient-years of follow-up review, for an overall annual event rate of 4.2%. Location was the most important factor for predicting interval event occurrence, with significantly higher rates for deeply located (10.6%/year) compared with superficially located lesions (0%/year) (p = 0.0001). Of patients suffering a neurological event, only 37% had complete resolution of their deficits. This largely prospective study indicates that deep cavernous malformations carry a worse prognosis than superficial lesions with respect to annual rates of neurological deterioration. The alarming rate of adverse clinical events occurring in patients with deep lesions is punctuated by the fact that less than one-half of them recover fully during long-term follow-up review.
Article
As more information evolves regarding the natural history of cavernous malformations (CMs), the risks of operative intervention must be balanced against nonoperative management. In an attempt to better delineate the surgical risks for operable CMs, we undertook a retrospective analysis of 94 patients with 97 CMs surgically excised at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Data regarding surgical complications and outcome measures, including neurological status and seizure outcome, were analyzed. The incidence of transient neurological morbidity was 20.6%, but only 4 of the 97 operations (4.1%) resulted in persistent disabling neurological complications and 2 (2.1 %) in nondisabling deficits. There was no operative mortality. Brain stem lesions (n=14) were associated with the highest incidence of neurological complications, both transient and persistent (odds ratio, 4.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-15.7). The overall neurological outcome was excellent or good in 89.7% of all lesions: 96.8% of lobar CMs (n=63), 64.2% of brain stem CMs (n=14), 87.5% of cerebellar CMs (n=8), 100% of cranial nerve CMs (n=4), and 75% of spinal cord CMs (n=8). Patients with brain stem and spinal cord CMs were in poorer preoperative neurological condition than were patients with CMs in other locations and therefore had a significantly reduced level of function after surgery (P < 0.01). There was improvement in 35.7% of the patients with brain stem lesions and 62.5% of the patients with spinal cord lesions after surgery. In the 38 patients presenting with seizures, 97% were seizure-free after surgery. The risks of operative management of CMs varies based on location. When evaluating patients with operable CMs for surgery, the incidence of complications as well as final neurological outcome should be carefully weighed against the existing knowledge of the natural history of lesions managed expectantly.
Article
Cavernous angiomas, which are vascular malformations mostly located in the central nervous system, may be inherited as an autosomal dominant disorder known as familial cerebral cavernoma (FCC). FCC has been studied in Hispanoamerican families, in which a strong founder effect was shown. We studied the families of 57 non-Hispanic patients with cavernous angiomas. All 28 neurosurgery centres in France collaborated in the study. Inclusion criteria were: families of index patients known to have at least one clinically affected relative, and families of index patients with multiple cavernous angiomas who initially presented as sporadic cases. Clinical and cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) investigations were done in all patients and in other at-risk individuals who consented to take part. On MRI, 16 of 22 sporadic index patients had relatives with cavernous angiomas. 51 multiple-case families, including 100 patients with symptoms and 164 symptom-free individuals had MRI lesions. Most FCC patients had multiple lesions and there was a strong correlation between number of lesions and age (p<0.01). The sensitivity of gradient-echo sequences was higher than that of standard MRI for detection of small cavernous angiomas. Pattern of inheritance was autosomal dominant, with incomplete clinical penetrance. The occurrence of de-novo mutations was strongly suggested in some families. Neuroimaging penetrance of FCC is much higher than clinical penetrance. 75% of sporadic cases with multiple lesions are in fact familial cases. The proportion of patients developing clinical symptoms is higher in the hereditary form than in the sporadic form of the disorder.
Article
Stereotactic radiosurgery has been used for patients with high-risk cavernous malformations of the brain. We performed radiosurgery for patients with symptomatic, imaging-confirmed hemorrhages for which resection was believed to be associated with high risk. This study examines the long-term hemorrhage rate after radiosurgery. We reviewed data obtained before and after gamma knife radiosurgery on 82 patients treated between 1987 and 2000. Most patients had multiple hemorrhages from brainstem or diencephalic cavernous malformations. Follow-up data were examined to identify hemorrhages, and an overall hemorrhage rate was calculated. Observation before treatment averaged 4.33 years (range, 0.17-18 yr) for a total of 354 patient-years. During this period, 202 hemorrhages were observed, for an annual hemorrhage rate of 33.9%, excluding the first hemorrhage. Temporal clustering of hemorrhages was not significant. After radiosurgery, patient follow-up averaged 5 years (range, 0.42-12.08 yr), for a total of 401 patient-years. During this period, 19 hemorrhages were identified, 17 in the first 2 years posttreatment and 2 after 2 years. The annual hemorrhage rate was 12.3% per year for the first 2 years after radiosurgery, followed by 0.76% per year from Years 2 to 12. Eleven patients had new neurological symptoms without hemorrhage after radiosurgery (13.4%). The symptoms were minor in six of these patients and temporary in five. Radiosurgery confers a reduction in the risk of hemorrhage for high-risk cavernous malformations. Risk reduction, although in evidence during initial follow-up, is most pronounced after 2 years. Given the difficulty of identifying high-risk patients, treatment after one major hemorrhage should be considered in selected younger patients. Such a strategy warrants further investigation.
Article
To compare clinical features of CCM1, CCM2, and CCM3 mutation carriers. A detailed clinical and molecular analysis of 163 consecutive cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) families was performed. A deleterious mutation was detected in 128 probands. Three hundred thirty-three mutation carriers were identified (238 CCM1, 67 CCM2, and 28 CCM3). Ninety-four percent of the probands with an affected relative had a mutation compared with 57% of the probands with multiple lesions but no affected relative (p < 0.001). The number of affected individuals per family was lower in CCM3 families (p < 0.05). The proportion of patients with onset of symptoms before 15 years of age was higher in the CCM3 group (p < 0.0025). Cerebral hemorrhage was the most common initial presentation in CCM3 patients. The average number of T2-weighted imaging lesions was similar in the three groups, in contrast with a significantly lower number of gradient-echo sequence lesions in CCM2 patients (p < 0.05). The number of gradient-echo sequence lesions increased more rapidly with age in CCM1 than in CCM2 patients (p < 0.05). Despite similarities among the three groups, there is a significantly lower number of affected individuals in CCM3 pedigrees, CCM3 mutations may confer a higher risk for cerebral hemorrhage, particularly during childhood, and the increment of gradient-echo sequence lesions with age differs between CCM1 and CCM2 patients.
Article
Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) are a relatively common autosomal dominant disorder leading to the formation of vascular malformations in the nervous system. Mutations in krit1 and malcavernin, the proteins encoded by the genes at the CCM1 and CCM2 loci, respectively, are responsible for the majority of CCMs. Similar to integrin cytoplasmic domain-associated protein-1alpha, a known krit1 interactor, malcavernin is a phosphotyrosine binding protein. We report here that krit1 also interacts with malcavernin. We used two-hybrid analysis, in vivo coimmunoprecipitation, and epitope mapping to explore the interaction between krit1 and malcavernin. Immunocytochemistry was used to study the cellular localization of these proteins. We demonstrate that malcavernin independently binds to two of the three NPXY (asparagine, proline, undetermined/variable amino acid, and tyrosine) motifs in krit1. By immunocytochemistry, malcavernin protein is cytoplasmic at steady state, but shuttles between the nucleus and cytoplasm, despite lacking either a nuclear localization signal or a nuclear export signal in its sequence. These data suggest that krit1 interacts with malcavernin through its NPXY motifs and may shuttle it through the nucleus via its nuclear localization signal and nuclear export signals, thereby regulating its cellular function.
Article
Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) are vascular malformations that can occur as a sporadic or a familial autosomal dominant disorder. Clinical and cerebral MRI data on large series of patients with a genetic form of the disease are now available. In addition, three CCM genes have been identified: CCM1/KRIT1, CCM2/MGC4607, and CCM3/PDCD10. These recent developments in clinical and molecular genetics have given us useful information about clinical care and genetic counselling and have broadened our understanding of the mechanisms of this disorder.
Article
The presentation and natural history of untreated, symptomatic intramedullary spinal cavernomas at our institution were analyzed. The objective is to provide additional information regarding the natural history of conservatively managed, symptomatic, intramedullary spinal cord cavernous malformations. The medical records of patients treated in our institution between 1989 and 2002 were reviewed to identify those with intramedullary cavernomas. The medical, radiological, surgical, and pathological records from these patients were retrospectively reviewed and analyzed. Fourteen patients were included in the study. The mean age at presentation was 42 years. Four lesions (29%) were located in the cervical region and 10 lesions (71%) were present in the thoracolumbar spinal cord. All patients were symptomatic at the time of presentation. In this cohort of 14 patients, 10 patients (71%) were conservatively managed. For these patients, the mean duration of symptoms before presentation was 10 months. The mean duration of follow-up from the time of presentation was 80 months. The median McCormick grade for conservatively treated patients at presentation was II. During this period, none of the conservatively managed patients had an acute intramedullary bleed. In nine patients, the McCormick grade at the last follow-up evaluation was the same as or better than their score at presentation. Four patients (29%) were treated surgically. The mean duration of symptoms before presentation was 33 months. The mean duration of follow-up from the time of presentation was 42 months. In two surgical patients, the McCormick grade at the last follow-up evaluation remained unchanged compared with their score at presentation, whereas the McCormick grade improved in one patient and deteriorated in another patient. This cohort of conservatively managed patients with symptomatic, intramedullary spinal cord cavernomas was clinically stable throughout the follow-up period. In this series, patients harboring symptomatic spinal cord cavernous malformation did not have significant, permanent neurological decline during the follow-up period when treated with the conservative approach of observation. This data provides additional information for determining the appropriate treatment strategy for patients with intramedullary spinal cavernomas.