Presentation, imaging, patterns of care, growth, and outcome in sporadic and von Hippel–Lindau-associated central nervous system hemangioblastomas

Hirokazu Takami, Christopher S. Graffeo, Avital Perry, Desmond A. Brown, Fredric B. Meyer, Terry C. Burns, Ian F. Parney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Object: Hemangioblastoma is a relatively rare neoplasm occurring mostly in the cerebellum that may arise sporadically or in the context of von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) syndrome. Presentation, imaging, natural history, surgical patterns of care, and outcomes are incompletely defined for this uncommon lesion. We reviewed our large institutional series to help clarify these issues. Methods: Retrospective analysis of consecutive, neurosurgically managed CNS hemangioblastomas at Mayo Clinic, 1988–2018. Results: Two hundred and eighty five hemangioblastomas were treated in 184 unique patients (115 sporadic, 69 VHL). Compared to sporadic patients, VHL patients were younger (36.7 vs 51.7 years; p < 0.0001), were treated while asymptomatic more commonly (47.3 vs 4.2%; p < 0.0001), had smaller lesions (6.6 vs 13.9 mL; p < 0.0001), and harbored lesions with associated cysts less frequently (51.0 vs 75.0%; p = 0.0002). Macrocystic tumor architecture was associated with larger lesion size and greater symptom severity. Solid lesions later formed cysts at a median 130 months. Growth in both total volume and solid component accelerated after cyst formation (10.6 and 6.0 times median rate prior to cyst emergence). VHL patients died at a younger age (47.9 vs 74.5, p = 0.0017) and were more likely to die of direct disease sequelae. Though treatment-free survival time was significantly longer in sporadic cases, a substantial fraction (> 40%) developed tumor recurrence/progression requiring additional treatment. Conclusions: Hemangioblastoma presentation varies with etiology and clinical course is more complicated in VHL cases. Nodular lesions often develop cysts over time which is associated with accelerated tumor growth. Sporadic cases have a previously unappreciated but substantial risk of late recurrence/progression requiring treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-231
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Hemangioblastoma
  • Sporadic
  • Von Hippel–Lindau disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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