Giant Cavernous Malformation Mimicking an Infiltrative Intracranial Neoplasm in Children-Case Report and Systematic Review of the Literature

World Neurosurg. 2023 Jun:174:30-41. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2023.02.135. Epub 2023 Mar 6.


Background: Giant cavernous malformations (GCMs) are rare and poorly characterized neurovascular lesions in adults or children and often misclassified. In this study, we provide a review of pediatric GCM cases to highlight this rare entity as an important differential diagnosis in preoperative assessment.

Methods: We report a pediatric case of GCM that presented as an intracerebral, periventricular, and infiltrative mass lesion. We performed a systematic review of published literature describing cases of GCM in children using the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases. Studies describing cerebral or spinal cavernous malformation >4 cm were included. Demographic, clinical, radiographic, and outcome data were extracted.

Results: Thirty-eight studies accounting for 61 patients were reviewed. most patients were 1-10 years old and 55.73% were male. Average lesion sizes ranged between 4 and 6 cm (40.98% >6 cm; 8.19% >10 cm). Supratentorial localization was most common (75.40%), with frontal and parieto-occipital regions being frequent localizations. Infratentorial lesions (24.60%) were located within the cerebellum (16.39%) and brainstem (8.19%). One case of spinal cavernoma was found. The main clinical manifestations were seizures (44.26%), focal neurologic deficit (36.06%), and headache (22.95%). Imaging showed contrast enhancement (36.06%), cystic features (27.86%), and infiltrative growth pattern (4.91%).

Conclusions: GCMs show variable clinical and radiologic features, representing a diagnostic challenge for treating surgeons. Imaging may show various tumorlike features such as cystic or infiltrative patterns with contrast enhancement. The existence of GCM should be considered preoperatively. Gross total resection should be attempted whenever possible, because it correlates with a good recovery and long-term outcomes. Also, a clear definition criteria of when a cerebral cavernous malformation is termed giant should be established.

Keywords: CCM; Cavernous malformation; Giant cavernoma; Pediatric; Previous.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous* / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous* / surgery
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous, Central Nervous System* / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous, Central Nervous System* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male