Pathological review of late cerebral radionecrosis

Brain Tumor Pathol. 2008;25(2):51-8. doi: 10.1007/s10014-008-0233-9. Epub 2008 Nov 6.


Late cerebral radionecrosis may be considered to be a specific chronic inflammatory response, although it is unknown whether the initial damage by brain irradiation is to an endothelial cell or a glial cell. I discuss the pathological specificity of late cerebral radionecrosis by studying the published literature and a case that I experienced. In late cerebral radionecrosis, there are typical coagulation necrosis areas containing fibrinoid necrosis with occlusion of the lumina and poorly active inflammatory areas with many inflammatory ghost cells, focal perivascular lymphocytes, hyalinized vessels, and telangiectatic vascularization near and in the necrotic tissue, and more active inflammatory areas formed as a partial rim of the reactive zone by perivascular lymphocytes, much vascularization, and GFAP-positive astrocytes at the corticomedullary border adjacent to necrotic tissue in the white matter. It is difficult to believe that coagulation necrosis occurs without first disordering the vascular endothelial cells because fibrinoid necrosis is a main feature and a diffusely multiple lesion in late cerebral radionecrosis. Because various histological findings do develop, progress, and extend sporadically at different areas and times in the irradiated field of the brain for a long time after radiation, uncontrolled chronic inflammation containing various cytokine secretions may also play a key role in progression of this radionecrosis. Evaluation of the mechanism of the development/aggravation of late cerebral radionecrosis requires a further study for abnormal cytokine secretions and aberrant inflammatory reactions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Necrosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Necrosis / pathology*
  • Nerve Sheath Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nerve Sheath Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon