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Growth rate and fate of untreated hemangioblastomas: clinical assessment of the experience of a single institution

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The growth rate and natural history of untreated hemangioblastomas remain unclear. This study investigated the natural history of untreated intracranial hemangioblastomas and predictors of tumor growth using volumetric assessment.


This study retrospectively enrolled 31 patients with untreated hemangioblastomas between 2004 and 2017 who were followed up for at least 12 months. The 31 patients had a total of 52 hemangioblastomas.


The 31 patients included 11 (35.5%) men and 20 (64.5%) women, of mean age 42.5 years. Seventeen (54.8%) patients were genetically diagnosed with Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease. Of the 52 lesions, 33 (63.5%) grew during the follow-up period, whereas 19 (36.5%) remained stable. Overall mean actual growth rate (AGR) was 1.94 cm3/year, 2.38 cm3/year in the VHL and 1.79 cm3/year in the non-VHL group (p = 0.31). Overall mean relative growth rate (RGR) was 21%/year, 26%/year in the VHL and 19%/year in the non-VHL group. Time to 50% treatment probability was 34 months. The 1, 3, 5, and 7-year treatment probabilities were 11.5%, 50.1%, 52.7%, and 73%, respectively. The presence of only symptomatic lesions was significantly predictive of the growth of intracranial hemangioblastoma (odds ratio: 5.0, p = 0.02).


The overall growth rate of intracranial hemangioblastoma was faster than that of other benign intracranial tumors, with symptomatic lesions being the only meaningful predictor of tumor growth. Because of their rapid growth rate and high probability of treatment, a wait and scan management strategy should be carefully applied to intracranial hemangioblastomas.

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The authors thank the referring physicians and the neuroradiologists and pathologists of our institution. We also thank Na Young Kim, a statistician in our institute, who performed the statistical analysis and assisted in the writing of the Methods section of this report.

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Correspondence to Jeong Hoon Kim.

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Byun, J., Yoo, H.J., Kim, J.H. et al. Growth rate and fate of untreated hemangioblastomas: clinical assessment of the experience of a single institution. J Neurooncol 144, 147–154 (2019).

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