Brainstem melanomas presenting as a cavernous malformation

A. Y. Lu, A. R. Patel, G. A. Kuzmik, K. K. Atsina, R. A. Bronen, P. M. Jabbour, D. M. Hasan, A. O. Vortmeyer, B. G. Welch, K. R. Bulsara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Melanoma lesions in the brainstem can be difficult to distinguish radiographically and clinically from cavernous malformations. However, the treatment modalities and clinical course of these two diseases differ considerably. We report two cases of melanoma presenting as brainstem hemorrhages. Case description: A 69-year-old male was found to have a hemorrhagic lesion of the right dorsal midbrain. After a repeat hemorrhage, the lesion was resected and found to be hyperchromatic. Nonetheless, the patient suffered rebleeding and died 3. months later. A 62-year-old female was similarly found to have an acute pontine hemorrhage. After resection of the lesion, she underwent whole-brain radiation therapy but ultimately died 5.5. months later. The histopathology of both lesions was consistent with melanoma. Conclusions: Melanoma in the brainstem can mimic cavernous malformations. While management of these lesions includes stereotactic radiosurgery, whole-brain radiation, and surgical resection, metastatic brainstem melanoma follows an aggressive clinical course with a poor prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-187
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Brain stem
  • Cavernous malformations of CNS and retina
  • Melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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