Radiation-induced meningiomas

Last revised by Dr Derek Smith on 12 Apr 2022

Radiation-induced meningiomas are more frequently multiple and have a very long latency period. Meningiomas are a much more frequent complication of radiation exposure compared to sarcomas or gliomas.

Epidemiology

The exact incidence of radiation-induced meningiomas is unknown; one study had an incidence of 22% 1. There is an increasing incidence of developing meningiomas over time, unlike radiation-induced gliomas that have a stable/decreased incidence 5 years post-treatment 1. Radiation-induced meningiomas tend to occur in younger patients when compared to spontaneous meningiomas 3.

Pathology

There is a long latency between radiation exposure and diagnosis of radiation-induced meningiomas, on average ~35 years. They are more likely to be multiple, more aggressive, and have higher rates of recurrence than spontaneous meningiomas 2.

Etiology

Increased incidence of meningiomas has been documented in populations with radiation exposure that has come from therapeutic, diagnostic and environmental exposures 1,2:

  • whole brain radiotherapy for childhood leukemia
  • radiotherapy for tinea capitis
  • whole mouth dental radiographs (increased risk in examinations performed pre-1945 when doses were higher)
  • survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4: chordoid meningiomas
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  • Case 5: meningiomas and cavernomas post-childhood radiotherapy
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