Vertebral Intraosseous Vascular Malformations in a Familial Cerebral Cavernous Malformation Population: Prevalence, Histologic Features, and Associations With CNS Disease

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2020 Feb;214(2):428-436. doi: 10.2214/AJR.19.21492. Epub 2019 Dec 11.


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether MRI-typical and MRI-atypical intraosseous vascular malformations are associated with familial cerebral cavernous malformation (FCCM). MATERIALS AND METHODS. In a retrospective matched case-control study, two radiologists reviewed the spinal imaging, both CT and MRI, of 22 patients with FCCM seen between 2006 and 2017 and of age- and sex-matched control subjects for MRI-typical and MRI-atypical intraosseous vascular malformations. Quantitative analysis of lesions identified included vertebral level, size, and number of lesions. Pathologic samples from two lesions were analyzed for histologic and immunohistochemical features. Whether the presence of typical, atypical, and total intraosseous vascular malformations differed between patients and control subjects was tested. For patients with complete spinal imaging, whether intraosseous vascular malformations were associated with age, sex, brain lesion count, and spinal lesion count was also tested. RESULTS. MRI-atypical intraosseous vertebral malformations were more commonly present in patients with FCCM (p = 0.003). Sixteen lesions were found in nine patients and none in the control group. The numbers of MRI-typical intraosseous vascular malformations were similar between patients and control subjects (p = 0.480). Age was associated with typical intraosseous vascular malformations (p = 0.027), though not with atypical malformations. MRI-atypical malformations were larger (mean diameter double) than MRI-typical malformations (p = 0.023). Histologic analysis of two lesions from different patients with pathologic collapse revealed the same histologic features consistent with combined capillary-venous malformations. CONCLUSION. Vertebral capillary-venous malformations (MRI-atypical intraosseous vascular malformations) are common in patients with FCCM and may have a more aggressive clinical course than MRI-typical malformations.

Keywords: cerebral cavernous malformation; intraosseous vascular malformation; neurocutaneous disorder; spinal cavernous malformation; vertebral hemangioma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous, Central Nervous System / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spine / abnormalities*
  • Spine / blood supply*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*

Supplementary concepts

  • Familial cerebral cavernous malformation