After gross-total resection (GTR) of a newly diagnosed WHO grade II meningioma, the decision to treat with radiation upfront or at initial recurrence remains controversial. A comparison of progression-free survival (PFS) between observation and adjuvant radiation fails to account for the potential success of salvage radiation, and a direct comparison of PFS between adjuvant and salvage radiation is hampered by strong selection bias against salvage radiation cohorts in which only more aggressive, recurrent tumors are included. To account for the limitations of traditional PFS measures, the authors evaluated radiation failure-free survival (RFFS) between two treatment strategies after GTR: adjuvant radiation versus observation with salvage radiation, if necessary.
The authors performed a retrospective review of patients who underwent GTR of newly diagnosed WHO grade II meningiomas at their institution between 1996 and 2019. They assessed traditional PFS in patients who underwent adjuvant radiation, postoperative observation, and salvage radiation. For RFFS, treatment failure was defined as time from initial surgery to failure of first radiation. To assess the association between treatment strategy and RFFS while accounting for potential confounders, a multivariable Cox regression analysis adjusted for the propensity score (PS) and inverse probability of treatment weighted (IPTW) Cox regression analysis were performed.
A total of 160 patients underwent GTR and were included in this study. Of the 121 patients who underwent observation, 32 (26.4%) developed recurrence and required salvage radiation. PFS at 3, 5, and 10 years after observation was 75.1%, 65.6%, and 45.5%, respectively. PFS at 3 and 5 years after salvage radiation was 81.7% and 61.3%, respectively. Of 160 patients, 39 received adjuvant radiation, and 3- and 5-year PFS/RFFS rates were 86.1% and 59.2%, respectively. In patients who underwent observation with salvage radiation, if necessary, the 3-, 5-, and 10-year RFFS rates were 97.7%, 90.3%, and 87.9%, respectively. Both PS and IPTW Cox regression models demonstrated that patients who underwent observation with salvage radiation treatment, if necessary, had significantly longer RFFS (PS model: hazard ratio [HR] 0.21, p < 0.01; IPTW model: HR 0.21, p < 0.01).
In this retrospective, nonrandomized study, adjuvant radiation after GTR of a WHO II meningioma did not add significant benefit over a strategy of observation and salvage radiation at initial recurrence, if necessary, but results must be considered in the context of the limitations of the study design.