Bevacizumab for the treatment of surgically unresectable cervical cord hemangioblastoma: a case report
Department of Neurology, Division of Neuro-Oncology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, 751 N Rutledge St, Springfield, IL, 62704, USA
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:238 doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-238Published: 10 August 2012
Hemangioblastomas are highly vascular tumors that can arise within the central nervous system as well as other organ systems within the body. They can arise sporadically or as part of von Hippel-Lindau syndrome. Those arising in critical locations within the central nervous system can be difficult to resect surgically and therefore pose a significant challenge and result in morbidity and even mortality. Hemangioblastomas express high levels of vascular endothelial growth factor that drives angiogenesis and tumor progression. We hypothesized that bevacizumab through its inhibitory effect on vascular endothelial growth factor will result in hemangioblastoma tumor regression as well as a meaningful clinical response.
We present the case of a 51-year-old Caucasian man with surgically unresectable cervical cord hemangioblastoma presenting with progressive weakness leading to quadriparesis. He was treated with bevacizumab and his follow up magnetic resonance imaging scans showed marked tumor regression. After only six cycles of intravenous bevacizumab (10mg/kg every two weeks), he started ambulating after being wheelchair bound. He is currently still receiving treatment almost two years after initiation of bevacizumab.
We have shown for the first time that bevacizumab can result in significant tumor regression and a sustained clinical improvement in a patient with an otherwise unresectable spinal cord hemangioblastoma. This novel approach can be immensely useful for patients with difficult to resect hemangioblastomas or those with multiple lesions such as in von Hippel-Lindau syndrome.