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Matthew L. Carlson, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Bruce E. Pollock, Brian A. Neff, Nicole M. Tombers, Colin L. W. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

Object

The goals of this retrospective cohort study were as follows: 1) to describe the long-term prevalence and timing of hearing deterioration following low-dose (12- to 13-Gy marginal dose) stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for vestibular schwannoma (VS); and 2) to identify clinical variables associated with long-term preservation of useful hearing following treatment.

Methods

Patients with serviceable hearing who underwent SRS for VS between 1997 and 2002 were studied. Data including radiosurgery treatment plans, tumor characteristics, pre- and posttreatment pure tone average, speech discrimination scores, and American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery hearing class were collected. Time to nonserviceable hearing was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Univariate and multivariate associations with time to nonserviceable hearing were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression models.

Results

Forty-four patients met the study criteria and were included. The median duration of audiometric follow-up was 9.3 years. Thirty-six patients developed nonserviceable hearing at a mean of 4.2 years following SRS. The Kaplan-Meier estimated rates of serviceable hearing at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 years following SRS were 80%, 55%, 48%, 38%, and 23%, respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that pretreatment ipsilateral pure tone average (p < 0.001) and tumor size (p = 0.009) were statistically significantly associated with time to nonserviceable hearing.

Conclusions

Durable hearing preservation a decade after low-dose SRS for VS occurs in less than one-fourth of patients. Variables including preoperative hearing capacity and tumor size may be used to predict hearing outcomes following treatment. These findings may assist in pretreatment risk disclosure. Furthermore, these data demonstrate the importance of long-term follow-up when reporting audiometric outcomes following SRS for VS.

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Michelle A. Holman, William R. Schmitt, Matthew L. Carlson, Colin L. W. Driscoll, Charles W. Beatty and Michael J. Link

Object

The aim in this study was to describe the clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, and risk for neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) in pediatric patients presenting with cerebellopontine angle (CPA) and internal auditory canal (IAC) tumors.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective study at a tertiary care academic referral center. All patients with an age ≤ 18 years who had presented with an extraaxial CPA or IAC tumor between 1987 and 2012 were included in the study cohort. Data regarding symptoms, diagnosis, tumor characteristics, and NF2 status were collected and analyzed.

Results

Sixty patients (55% female, 45% male) harboring 87 tumors were identified. The mean age at diagnosis was 12.8 years (median 14.0 years, range 0.9–18.9 years). Schwannomas were the most commonly identified lesions (57 of 87 tumors, including 52 vestibular, 3 facial, and 2 trigeminal schwannomas), followed by meningiomas (5 of 87) and epidermoid cysts (4 of 87). Six malignant tumors were diagnosed, including small-cell sarcoma, squamous cell carcinoma, malignant meningioma, atypical rhabdoid-teratoid tumor, endolymphatic sac tumor, and malignant ganglioglioma. Headache, followed by hearing loss and imbalance, was the most common presenting symptom, whereas dysphagia, otalgia, and facial pain were uncommon.

Neurofibromatosis Type 2 was diagnosed in 20 (61%) of 33 patients with vestibular schwannoma (VS), while the other 13 patients (39%) had sporadic tumors. Nineteen of the 20 patients with NF2 met the diagnostic criteria for that disorder on initial presentation, and 15 of them presented with bilateral VS. At the last follow-up, 19 of the 20 patients subsequently diagnosed with NF2 demonstrated bilateral VSs, whereas 1 patient with a unilateral VS and multiple other NF2-associated tumors has yet to demonstrate a contralateral VS to date. Only 1 patient presenting with an isolated unilateral VS and no family history of NF2 demonstrated a contralateral VS on subsequent radiological screening.

Conclusions

Cerebellopontine angle and IAC tumors in the pediatric population are rare. There are several noteworthy differences between the adult and pediatric populations harboring these lesions. While VS is the most common pathology in both age groups, the lesion was found in only 60% of the pediatric patients in the present study. Unlike in adults, VSs in the pediatric population were associated with NF2 in over one-half of all cases. The majority of pediatric patients with NF2 fulfilled the diagnostic criteria at initial presentation; however, approximately 7% of patients presenting with a seemingly sporadic (no family history of NF2) unilateral VS will meet the criteria for NF2 later in life. Finally, malignancies account for a significantly higher percentage (10%) of cases among pediatric patients. These findings underscore the importance of early screening and close radiological follow-up and may be helpful in patient counseling.

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Brian A. Neff, Matthew L. Carlson, Megan M. O'Byrne, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Colin L. W. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence, presentation, and treatment outcomes of trigeminal nerve–mediated symptoms secondary to large vestibular schwannomas (VSs) with trigeminal nerve contact. Specifically, the symptomatic results of pain, paresthesias, and numbness after microsurgical resection or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) were examined.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of a database for concomitant diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) or trigeminal neuropathy and VS between 1994 and 2014 at a tertiary academic center. All patients with VS with TN or neuropathy were included, with the exception of those patients with neurofibromatosis Type 2 and patients who elected observation. Patient demographic data, symptom evolution, and treatment outcomes were collected. Population data were summarized, and outcome comparisons between microsurgery and SRS were analyzed at last follow-up.

RESULTS

Sixty (2.2%) of 2771 total patients who had large VSs and either TN or neuropathy symptoms met inclusion criteria. The average age of trigeminal symptom onset was 53.6 years (range 24–79 years), the average age at VS diagnosis was 54.4 years (range 25–79 years), and the average follow-up for the microsurgery and SRS groups was 30 and 59 months, respectively (range 3–132 months). Of these patients, 50 (83%) had facial numbness, 16 (27%) had TN pain, and 13 (22%) had paresthesias (i.e., burning or tingling). Subsequently, 50 (83%) patients underwent resection and 10 (17%) patients received SRS.

Treatment of VS with SRS did not improve trigeminal symptoms in any patient. This included 2 subjects with unimproved facial numbness and 4 patients with worsened numbness. Similarly, SRS worsened TN pain and paresthesias in 5 patients and failed to improve pain in 2 additional patients. The Barrow Neurological Institute neuralgia and hypesthesia scale scores were significantly worse for patients undergoing SRS compared with microsurgery.

Resection alleviated facial numbness in 22 (50%) patients, paresthesias in 5 (42%) patients, and TN in 7 (70%) patients. In several patients, surgery was not successful in relieving facial numbness, which failed to improve in 17 (39%) cases and became worse in 5 (11%) cases. Also, surgery did not change the intensity of facial paresthesias or neuralgia in 6 (50%) and 3 (25%) patients, respectively. Microsurgery exacerbated facial paresthesias in 1 (8%) patient but, notably, did not aggravate TN in any patient.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, resection of large VSs provided improved outcomes for patients with concomitant TN, facial paresthesia, and numbness compared with SRS. However, caution should be used when counseling surgical candidates because a number of patients did not experience improvement. This was especially true in patients with preoperative facial numbness and paresthesias, who frequently reported that these symptoms were unchanged following surgery.

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Matthew L. Carlson, Kathryn M. Van Abel, William R. Schmitt, Colin L. W. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff, John I. Lane and Michael J. Link

Object

The authors describe the unique occurrence of nodular enhancement within the fundus of the internal auditory canal (IAC) lateral to the preoperative radiological tumor margin following gross-total vestibular schwannoma (VS) resection.

Methods

The nature of the study was a retrospective chart review of records. The authors reviewed the cases of all patients who underwent microsurgical resection of a VS between January 2000 and January 2010 at a single tertiary referral center. Patients with incomplete resection, neurofibromatosis Type 2, and those with fewer than 2 postoperative MR images available for review were excluded.

Postsurgical patients with IAC enhancement located lateral to the preoperative imaging–delineated tumor margin were identified. Lesion morphology was characterized on serial MR imaging studies. Clinical follow-up and outcomes were recorded.

Results

Over the past decade, 350 patients underwent microsurgical VS resection. Of these, 16 patients met study criteria and were found to have postsurgical enhancement in the distal aspect of the IAC lateral to the imaging limits of the preoperative tumor margin on the first postoperative MR imaging study (37.5% women, median age 45 years). Initial MR imaging was performed at a mean of 3.1 months following surgery, and the mean radiological follow-up duration was 39.8 months (range 16.4–101.9 months). None of the 16 patients developed recurrence during the follow-up course.

Conclusions

In contrast to previous publications that have reported a high rate of recurrence in cases involving nodular enhancement within the original tumor bed, postoperative enhancement in the IAC lateral to the original tumor margin appears to carry much less risk for tumor recurrence. These findings may be helpful when counseling patients on the recommended frequency of postoperative follow-up imaging.

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Alexander P. Marston, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Matthew L. Carlson, Bruce E. Pollock, Colin L. W. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

Over the last 30 years, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has become an established noninvasive treatment alternative for small- to medium-sized vestibular schwannoma (VS). This study aims to further define long-term SRS tumor control in patients with documented pretreatment tumor growth for whom conservative observation failed.

METHODS

A prospective clinical database was queried, and patients with sporadic VS who elected initial observation and subsequently underwent SRS after documented tumor growth between 2004 and 2014 were identified. Posttreatment tumor growth or shrinkage was determined by a ≥ 2-mm increase or decrease in maximum linear dimension, respectively.

RESULTS

Sixty-eight patients met study inclusion criteria. The median pre- and posttreatment observation periods were 16 and 43.5 months, respectively. The median dose to the tumor margin was 13 Gy (range 12–14 Gy), and the median maximum dose was 26 Gy (range 24–28 Gy). At the time of treatment, 59 tumors exhibited extracanalicular (EC) extension, and 9 were intracanalicular (IC). Of the 59 EC VSs, 50 (85%) remained stable or decreased in size following treatment, and 9 (15%) enlarged by > 2 mm. Among EC tumors, the median pretreatment tumor growth rate was 2.08 mm/year for tumors that decreased or were stable, compared with 3.26 mm/year for tumors that grew following SRS (p = 0.009). Patients who demonstrated a pretreatment growth rate of < 2.5 mm/year exhibited a 97% tumor control rate, compared with 69% for those demonstrating ≥ 2.5 mm/year of growth prior to SRS (p = 0.007). No other analyzed variables were found to predict tumor growth following SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, SRS administered using a marginal dose between 12–14 Gy is highly effective in treating VSs in which initial observation fails. Tumor control is achieved in 97% of VSs that exhibit slow (< 2.5 mm/year) pretreatment growth; however, SRS is less successful in treating tumors exhibiting rapid growth (≥ 2.5 mm/year).

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Øystein Vesterli Tveiten, Matthew L. Carlson, Frederik Goplen, Erling Myrseth, Colin L. W. Driscoll, Rupavathana Mahesparan, Michael J. Link and Morten Lund-Johansen

OBJECTIVE

Patient-reported outcomes are increasingly used in studies of vestibular schwannoma (VS); however, few studies have examined self-evaluated facial nerve function and its relation to physician-reported outcomes. The primary objective of this study was to compare patient self-evaluations of facial disability with physician-evaluated facial nerve status and with self-evaluations of a healthy control group. The second objective was to provide insight into the controversial subject of the optimal initial management of small- and medium-sized VSs; consequently, the authors compared patient-reported facial nerve disability following treatment via observation (OBS), Gamma Knife surgery (GKS), or microsurgery (MS). Lastly, the authors sought to identify risk factors for facial nerve dysfunction following treatment for small- and medium-sized VSs.

METHODS

All patients with a VS 3 cm or smaller that was singly treated with OBS, GKS, or MS at either of 2 independent treatment centers between 1998 and 2008 were retrospectively identified. Longitudinal facial nerve measures and clinical data, including facial nerve evaluation according to the House-Brackmann (HB) grading system, were extracted from existing VS databases. Supplementing the objective data were Facial Disability Index (FDI) scores, which were obtained via survey of patients a mean of 7.7 years after initial treatment.

RESULTS

The response rate among the 682 eligible patients was 79%; thus, data from a total of 539 patients were analyzed. One hundred forty-eight patients had been managed by OBS, 247 with GKS, and 144 with MS. Patients who underwent microsurgery had larger tumors and were younger than those who underwent OBS or GKS. Overall, facial nerve outcomes were satisfactory following treatment, with more than 90% of patients having HB Grade I function at the last clinical follow-up. Treatment was the major risk factor for facial nerve dysfunction. Almost one-fifth of the patients treated with MS had an objective decline in facial nerve function, whereas only 2% in the GKS group and 0% in the OBS cohort had a decline. The physical subscale of the FDI in the VS patients was highly associated with HB grade; however, the social/well-being subscale of the FDI was not. Thus, any social disability caused by facial palsy was not detectable by use of this questionnaire.

CONCLUSIONS

The majority of patients with small- and medium-sized VSs attain excellent long-term facial nerve function and low facial nerve disability regardless of treatment modality. Tumor size and microsurgical treatment are risk factors for facial nerve dysfunction and self-reported disability. The FDI questionnaire is sensitive to the physical but not the social impairment associated with facial dysfunction.

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Neil S. Patel, Matthew L. Carlson, Bruce E. Pollock, Colin L. W. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff, Robert L. Foote, Christine M. Lohse and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

The morbidity of gross-total resection of jugular paraganglioma (JP) is often unacceptable due to the potential for irreversible lower cranial neuropathy. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been used at the authors’ institution since 1990 for the treatment of JP and other benign intracranial tumors. Conventional means of assessing tumor progression using linear measurements or elliptical approximations are imprecise due to the irregular shape and insinuating growth pattern of JP. The objective of this study was to assess long-term tumor control in these patients by using slice-by-slice 3D volumetric segmentation of serial MRI data.

METHODS

Radiographic data and clinical records were reviewed retrospectively at a single, tertiary-care academic referral center for patients treated from 1990 to 2017. Volumetric analyses by integration of consecutive tumor cross-sectional areas (tumor segmentation) of serial MRI data were performed. Tumor progression was defined as volumetric growth of 15% or greater over the imaging interval. Primary outcomes analyzed included survival free of radiographic and clinical progression. Secondary outcomes included new or worsened cranial neuropathy.

RESULTS

A total of 85 patients were treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for JP at the authors’ institution over the last 27 years. Sixty patients had pretreatment and serial posttreatment contrast-enhanced MRI follow-up suitable for volumetric analysis. A total of 214 MR images were analyzed to segment tumor images in a slice-by-slice fashion to calculate integral tumor volume. The median follow-up duration was 66 months (range 7–202 months). At 5 years the tumor progression-free survival rate was 98%. Three tumors exhibited progression more than 10 years after GKRS. Estimated survival free of radiographic progression rates (95% confidence interval [CI]; n = number still at risk) at 5, 10, and 15 years following radiosurgery were 98% (95% CI 94%–100%; n = 34), 94% (95% CI 85%–100%; n = 16), and 74% (95% CI 56%–98%; n = 6), respectively. One patient with tumor progression required treatment intervention using external beam radiation therapy, constituting the only case of clinical progression. Two patients (3%) without preexisting lower cranial nerve dysfunction developed new ipsilateral vocal fold paralysis following radiosurgery.

CONCLUSIONS

SRS achieves excellent long-term tumor control for JP without a high risk for new or worsened cranial neuropathy when used in primary, combined modality, or recurrent settings. Long-term follow-up is critical due to the potential for late radiographic progression (i.e., more than 10 years after SRS). As none of the patients with late progression have required salvage therapy, the clinical implications of this degree of tumor growth have yet to be determined.

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Hirofumi Nakatomi, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Matthew L. Carlson, Shota Tanaka, Minoru Tanaka, Nobuhito Saito, Christine M. Lohse, Colin L. W. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

The management of vestibular schwannoma (VS) remains controversial. One commonly cited advantage of microsurgery over other treatment modalities is that tumor removal provides the greatest chance of long-term cure. However, there are very few publications with long-term follow-up to support this assertion. The purpose of the current study is to report the very long-term risk of recurrence among a large historical cohort of patients who underwent microsurgical resection.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients who had undergone primary microsurgical resection of unilateral VS via a retrosigmoid approach performed by a single neurosurgeon-neurotologist team between January 1980 and December 1999. Complete tumor removal was designated gross-total resection (GTR), and anything less than complete removal was designated subtotal resection (STR). The primary end point was radiological recurrence-free survival. Time-to-event analyses were performed to identify factors associated with recurrence.

RESULTS

Four hundred fourteen patients met the study inclusion criteria and were analyzed. Overall, 67 patients experienced recurrence at a median of 6.9 years following resection (IQR 3.9–12.1, range 1.2–22.5 years). Estimated recurrence-free survival rates at 5, 10, 15, and 20 years following resection were 93% (95% CI 91–96, 248 patients still at risk), 78% (72–85, 88), 68% (60–77, 47), and 51% (41–64, 22), respectively. The strongest predictor of recurrence was extent of resection, with patients who underwent STR having a nearly 11-fold greater risk of recurrence than the patients treated with GTR (HR 10.55, p < 0.001). Among the 18 patients treated with STR, 15 experienced recurrence at a median of 2.7 years following resection (IQR 1.9–8.9, range 1.2–18.7). Estimated recurrence-free survival rates at 5, 10, 15, and 20 years following GTR were 96% (95% CI 93–98, 241 patients still at risk), 82% (77–89, 86), 73% (65–81, 46), and 56% (45–70, 22), respectively. Estimated recurrence-free survival rates at 5, 10, and 15 years following STR were 47% (95% CI 28–78, 7 patients still at risk), 17% (5–55, 2), and 8% (1–52, 1), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Long-term surveillance is required following microsurgical resection of VS even after GTR. Subtotal resection alone should not be considered a definitive long-term cure. These data emphasize the importance of long-term follow-up when reporting tumor control outcomes for VS.

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Neil S. Patel, Matthew L. Carlson, Bruce E. Pollock, Colin L. W. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff, Robert L. Foote, Christine M. Lohse and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

The morbidity of gross-total resection of jugular paraganglioma (JP) is often unacceptable due to the potential for irreversible lower cranial neuropathy. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been used at the authors’ institution since 1990 for the treatment of JP and other benign intracranial tumors. Conventional means of assessing tumor progression using linear measurements or elliptical approximations are imprecise due to the irregular shape and insinuating growth pattern of JP. The objective of this study was to assess long-term tumor control in these patients by using slice-by-slice 3D volumetric segmentation of serial MRI data.

METHODS

Radiographic data and clinical records were reviewed retrospectively at a single, tertiary-care academic referral center for patients treated from 1990 to 2017. Volumetric analyses by integration of consecutive tumor cross-sectional areas (tumor segmentation) of serial MRI data were performed. Tumor progression was defined as volumetric growth of 15% or greater over the imaging interval. Primary outcomes analyzed included survival free of radiographic and clinical progression. Secondary outcomes included new or worsened cranial neuropathy.

RESULTS

A total of 85 patients were treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for JP at the authors’ institution over the last 27 years. Sixty patients had pretreatment and serial posttreatment contrast-enhanced MRI follow-up suitable for volumetric analysis. A total of 214 MR images were analyzed to segment tumor images in a slice-by-slice fashion to calculate integral tumor volume. The median follow-up duration was 66 months (range 7–202 months). At 5 years the tumor progression-free survival rate was 98%. Three tumors exhibited progression more than 10 years after GKRS. Estimated survival free of radiographic progression rates (95% confidence interval [CI]; n = number still at risk) at 5, 10, and 15 years following radiosurgery were 98% (95% CI 94%–100%; n = 34), 94% (95% CI 85%–100%; n = 16), and 74% (95% CI 56%–98%; n = 6), respectively. One patient with tumor progression required treatment intervention using external beam radiation therapy, constituting the only case of clinical progression. Two patients (3%) without preexisting lower cranial nerve dysfunction developed new ipsilateral vocal fold paralysis following radiosurgery.

CONCLUSIONS

SRS achieves excellent long-term tumor control for JP without a high risk for new or worsened cranial neuropathy when used in primary, combined modality, or recurrent settings. Long-term follow-up is critical due to the potential for late radiographic progression (i.e., more than 10 years after SRS). As none of the patients with late progression have required salvage therapy, the clinical implications of this degree of tumor growth have yet to be determined.