Hemangioendothelioma of the Spine

Kamran Aflatoon, Eric Staals, Franco Bertoni, Patrizia Bacchini, Davide Donati, Nicola Fabbri, Stephan Boriani, Frank J. Frassica

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


A review of the patient files from our institution's oncology department showed that between 1950 and 2000, 11 patients were diagnosed with hemangioendothelioma of the spine, a rare, low-grade malignant vascular tumor. After reevaluation of the diagnoses by orthopaedic oncologists and pathologists, three patients were excluded; therefore eight patients formed the study group. The eight lesions were located in the thoracic (three) or lumbar spine (five, one in each vertebral level). Computed tomography scans revealed expansile lytic process. All lesions involved the vertebral body, but only one was diffuse with spinous process involvement. Treatment included: external beam irradiation alone (one patient), curettage and external beam irradiation (one patient), laminectomy and external beam irradiation (two patients), anterior resection only (two patients), and anterior resection with postoperative external beam irradiation (two patients). Patients without spinal stabilization had chronic low back pain; no patient with spinal stabilization had such pain. One patient who had surgical resection and radiation therapy had a radiation-induced sarcoma develop after 4 years. One patient who was treated with radiation therapy alone had a metastatic lung lesion develop. No other patient had tumor recurrence or progression. Therefore, patients with hemangioendothelioma of the spine may be treated with radiation therapy alone, surgery alone, or a combination thereof. However, because the number of patients in the current series was small, no definitive recommendations regarding treatment may be made. Resection of large lesions and stabilization of vertebral collapse may decrease back pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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