Tumor-related Venous Obstruction and Development of Peritumoral Brain Edema in Meningiomas

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The exact pathogenesis of peritumoral brain edema (PTBE) in meningiomas is still unknown. A number of different pathophysiological hypotheses have been considered. A detrimental effect of tumor-related venous obstruction has been suggested as one pathogenetic mechanism. We sought to characterize the significance of venous stasis in the development of PTBE in meningiomas.


Angiograms for 134 patients with 136 intracranial meningiomas were analyzed. Pathological changes affecting cortical veins, sylvian veins, bridging veins, deep veins, transmedullary veins, and dural sinuses were evaluated. From preoperative computed tomographic scans, the total tumor volume, the tumor/PTBE volume ratio (edema index [EI]), and the location of the edema were determined. For statistical evaluation, meningiomas associated with pathological venous drainage were compared with size-matched controls.


The edema incidence and the mean EI were not different for meningiomas with unselected signs of obstructed venous drainage, compared with controls. In particular, lesions with involvement of cortical veins, bridging veins, and dural sinuses showed no higher edema incidence. However, meningiomas associated with venous changes in sylvian veins (EI = 4.9 versus EI = 2.7; P < 0.004) and with dysplastic transmedullary veins(EI = 3.3 versus EI = 1.7; P < 0.04) showed significantly higher mean EI values, compared with meningiomas without involvement of these vessels.


Our data suggest that tumor-related venous obstruction does not play an essential role in the development of PTBE for the majority of meningiomas. For a small subgroup of meningiomas with involvement of sylvian veins or development of dysplastic transmedullary veins, changes in venous drainage may aggravate preexisting PTBE.

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