Skull base chondrosarcoma is one of the most intractable tumors because of its aggressive biological behavior and involvement of the internal carotid artery and cranial nerves (CNs). One of the most accepted treatment strategies for skull base chondrosarcoma has been surgical removal of the tumor in conjunction with proactive extensive radiation therapy (RT) to the original tumor bed. However, the optimal strategy has not been determined. The goal of this study was to evaluate the early results of endoscopic transnasal surgery (ETS).
The authors retrospectively analyzed 19 consecutive patients who underwent ETS at their institution since 2010. Adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) was performed only for the small residual tumors that were not resected to avoid critical neurological complications. Histological confirmation and evaluation of the MIB-1 index was performed in all cases. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to determine the actuarial rate of tumor-free survival.
The median tumor volume and maximal diameter were 14.5 cm3 (range 1.4–88.4 cm3) and 3.8 cm (range 1.5–6.7 cm), respectively. Nine patients (47%) had intradural extension of the tumor. Gross-total resection was achieved in 15 (78.9%) of the 19 patients, without any disabling complications. In 4 patients, the surgery resulted in subtotal (n = 2, 11%) or partial (n = 2, 11%) resection because the tumors involved critical structures, including the basilar artery or the lower CNs. These 4 patients were additionally treated with SRS. The median follow-up duration was 47, 28, and 27 months after the diagnosis, ETS, and SRS, respectively. In 1 patient with an anterior skull base chondrosarcoma, the tumor relapsed in the optic canal 1 year later and was treated with a second ETS. Favorable tumor control was achieved in all other patients. The actuarial tumor control rate was 93% at 5 years. At the final follow-up, all patients were alive and able to perform independent activities of daily living without continuous neurological sequelae.
These preliminary results suggest that ETS can achieve sufficient radical tumor removal, resulting in comparative resection rates with fewer neurological complications to those in previous reports. Although the follow-up periods of these cases were relatively short, elective SRS to the small tumor remnant may be rational, achieving successful tumor control in some cases, instead of using proactive extensive RT. Thus, the addition of RT should be discussed with each patient, after due consideration of histological grading and biological behavior. To determine the efficacy of this strategy, a larger case series with a longer follow-up period is essential. However, this strategy may be able to establish evidence in the management of skull base chondrosarcoma, providing less-invasive and effective options as an initial step of treatment.