Cavernous malformations and radiation Cavernous malformations (CM), or cavernomas, have been generally considered congenital vascular lesions and occur in two distinct forms, sporadic and familial: patients with the familial form usually have multiple lesions and those with the sporadic form have a single lesion. However, an increasing number of de novo CMs has been reported, suggesting a different mechanism of induction: these CMs represent an etiologic spectrum and encompass single and multiple lesions which occur in patients without apparent familiarity and mainly attributable to the cumulative effects of host and external agents (irradiation, infection, iatrogen seeding, hemodynamic and hormonal factors) [1–13]. Cavernomas represent primary malformations made up of abnormal vessels formed in response to a “noxa” occurring both during embryogenesis and in one's lifetime. Besides a genetic origin, cavernomas may represent a “convergent” vascular disease consisting of a labyrinthic aggregate of endothelial-lined channels resulting from angiogenesis activation in response to chronic hemorrhages, thrombosis and recanalization events, preferentially in a hypertensive venous milieau .
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