Meningiomas in Pregnancy

Neurosurgery 71:951–961, 2012

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 intraand/ 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.