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Meningiomas in Pregnancy: A Clinicopathologic Study of 17 Cases

Lusis, Eriks A. MD*; Scheithauer, Bernd W. MD‡,†; Yachnis, Anthony T. MD§; Fischer, Bernhard R. MD; Chicoine, Michael R. MD*; Paulus, Werner MD; Perry, Arie MD#

doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31826adf65
Research-Human-Clinical Studies
Press Release

BACKGROUND: Dramatic growth of meningiomas is occasionally encountered during pregnancy. While cell proliferation is often assumed, hemodynamic changes have also been touted as a cause.

OBJECTIVE: We identified 17 meningiomas resected during pregnancy or within 3 weeks post-partum and characterized them to determine the cause of occasional rapid growth in pregnancy.

METHODS: Seventeen tumors were identified from searches at 4 university centers. All available clinical records, radiology images, and tissue specimens were reviewed, with immunohistochemical studies performed as needed.

RESULTS: Sixteen patients underwent tumor resection and 1 died of complications prior to surgery. Average patient age was 32 years. Nine experienced onset of symptoms in the third trimester or within 8 days post-partum. Principle physical findings included visual complaints (59%) and cranial nerve palsies (29%). Ten tumors (59%) were located in the skull base region. The Ki-67 labeling index was low (0.5-3.6%) in 11 of 13 benign (grade I) tumors and elevated (11-23.2%) in 3 of 4 atypical (grade II) meningiomas. Eight (50%) tumors featured hypervascularity with at least focal CD34-positive hemangioma-like microvasculature. Fourteen (82%) showed evidence of intra- and/or extracellular edema, 1 so extensive that its meningothelial nature was not apparent. Five tumors (29%) exhibited intratumoral hemorrhage and/or necrosis.

CONCLUSION: Our series suggests that pregnancy-associated meningiomas located in the skull base are likely to require surgical intervention for visual complaints and cranial nerve palsies. The rapid tumor growth is more often due to potentially reversible hemodynamic changes rather than hormone-induced cellular proliferation.

ABBREVIATION: CI, confidence interval

*Department of Neurosurgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

§Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida

Department of Neurosurgery and

Institute of Neuropathology, Muenster University Hospital, Muenster, Germany

#Department of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California

Correspondence: Arie Perry, MD, Professor of Pathology and Neurological Surgery, Director of Neuropathology, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Department of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, 505 Parnassus Ave, No. M551, Box 0102, San Francisco, CA 94143. E-mail:

† Deceased.

Received December 20, 2012

Accepted July 5, 2012

Copyright © by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons