Update on headache and brain tumors
Cephalalgia, Ahead of Print.
Headache is one of the leading symptoms often associated with brain tumours. Secondary headaches attributed to intracranial neoplasias have been included in subchapter 7.4 of the third edition of the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-3). According to ICHD-3, the headache may be attributed to a brain tumour if it has developed in close temporal relation with the development of the neoplasia, has significantly worsened in parallel with the worsening of the tumour, and/or has significantly improved following the successful treatment of the neoplasia. Brain tumour headache was traditionally thought to display some specific clinical characteristics, including worsening in the morning and/or when lying down, being aggravated by Valsalva-like manoeuvres and accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting; however, the studies performed after the advent of modern neurodiagnostic techniques have pointed out that the “classic” brain tumour headache is uncommon, particularly at the time of clinical presentation. Therefore, it becomes critical to seek some specific factors associated with the presence of an intracranial mass (the so-called “red flags”) that can guide the physician to establish an accurate diagnosis.