Defining clinically significant tumor size in vestibular schwannoma to inform timing of microsurgery during wait-and-scan management: moving beyond minimum detectable growth

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  • 1 Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery;
  • | 2 Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; and
  • | 3 Department of Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
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OBJECTIVE

Detection of vestibular schwannoma (VS) growth during observation leads to definitive treatment at most centers globally. Although ≥ 2 mm represents an established benchmark of tumor growth on serial MRI studies, 2 mm of linear tumor growth is unlikely to significantly alter microsurgical outcomes. The objective of the current work was to ascertain where the magnitude of change in clinical outcome is the greatest based on size.

METHODS

A single-institution retrospective review of a consecutive series of patients with sporadic VS who underwent microsurgical resection between January 2000 and May 2020 was performed. Preoperative tumor size cutpoints were defined in 1-mm increments and used to identify optimal size thresholds for three primary outcomes: 1) the ability to achieve gross-total resection (GTR); 2) maintenance of normal House-Brackmann (HB) grade I facial nerve function; and 3) preservation of serviceable hearing (American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery class A/B). Optimal size thresholds were obtained by maximizing c-indices from logistic regression models.

RESULTS

Of 603 patients meeting inclusion criteria, 502 (83%) had tumors with cerebellopontine angle (CPA) extension. CPA tumor size was significantly associated with achieving GTR, postoperative HB grade I facial nerve function, and maintenance of serviceable hearing (all p < 0.001). The optimal tumor size threshold to distinguish between GTR and less than GTR was 17 mm of CPA extension (c-index 0.73). In the immediate postoperative period, the size threshold between HB grade I and HB grade > I was 17 mm of CPA extension (c-index 0.65). At the most recent evaluation, the size threshold between HB grade I and HB grade > I was 23 mm (c-index 0.68) and between class A/B and C/D hearing was 18 mm (c-index 0.68). Tumors within 3 mm of the 17-mm CPA threshold displayed similarly strong c-indices. Among purely intracanalicular tumors, linear size was not found to portend worse outcomes for all measures.

CONCLUSIONS

The probability of incurring less optimal microsurgical outcomes begins to significantly increase at 14–20 mm of CPA extension. Although many factors ultimately influence decision-making, when considering timing of microsurgical resection, using a size threshold range as depicted in this study offers an evidence-based approach that moves beyond reflexively recommending treatment for all tumors after detecting ≥ 2 mm of tumor growth on serial MRI studies.

ABBREVIATIONS

AAO-HNS = American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery; CPA = cerebellopontine angle; GTR = gross-total resection; HB = House-Brackmann; IAC = internal auditory canal; IQR = interquartile range; NTR = near-total resection; PTA = pure tone average; STR = subtotal resection; VS = vestibular schwannoma; WRS = word recognition score.

Supplementary Materials

    • Tables S1 and S2 and Figure S1 (PDF 269 KB)

Illustration from Serrato-Avila (pp 1410–1423). Copyright Johns Hopkins University, Art as Applied to Medicine. Published with permission.

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