Surgical options for managing hydrocephalus secondary to CNS tumors have traditionally included ventriculoperitoneal shunting (VPS) when tumor resection or medical management alone are ineffective. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) has emerged as an attractive treatment strategy for tumor-associated hydrocephalus because it offers a lower risk of infection and hardware-related complications; however, relatively little has been written on the topic of ETV specifically for the treatment of tumor-associated hydrocephalus. Here, the authors reviewed the existing literature on the use of ETV in the treatment of tumor-associated hydrocephalus, focusing on the frequency of ETV use and the failure rates in patients with hydrocephalus secondary to CNS tumor.
The authors queried PubMed for the following terms: “endoscopic third ventriculostomy,” “tumor,” and “pediatric.” Papers with only adult populations, case reports, and papers published before the year 2000 were excluded. The authors analyzed the etiology of hydrocephalus and failure rates after ETV, and they compared failure rates of ETV with those of VPS where reported.
Thirty-two studies with data on pediatric patients undergoing ETV for tumor-related hydrocephalus were analyzed. Tumors, particularly in the posterior fossa, were reported as the etiology of hydrocephalus in 38.6% of all ETVs performed (984 of 2547 ETVs, range 29%–55%). The ETV failure rate in tumor-related hydrocephalus ranged from 6% to 38.6%, and in the largest studies analyzed (> 100 patients), the ETV failure rate ranged from 10% to 38.6%. The pooled ETV failure rate was 18.3% (199 failures after 1087 procedures). The mean or median follow-up for ETV failure assessment ranged from 6 months to 8 years in these studies. Only 5 studies directly compared ETV with VPS for tumor-associated hydrocephalus, and they reported mixed results in regard to failure rate and time to failure. Overall failure rates appear similar for ETV and VPS over time, and the risk of infection appears to be lower in those patients undergoing ETV. The literature is mixed regarding the need for routine ETV before resection for posterior fossa tumors with associated hydrocephalus.
Treatment of tumor-related hydrocephalus with ETV is common and is warranted in select pediatric patient populations. Failure rates are overall similar to those of VPS for tumor-associated hydrocephalus.