The authors report on the long-term outcome in 100 consecutive patients with meningiomas arising from the cavernous sinus (CS) with compressive extension outside the CS. The treatment in all cases was surgery alone without adjuvant radiosurgery or radiotherapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the percentage of patients in whom surgery alone was able to produce long-term tumor control.
All 100 patients harbored meningiomas with supra- and/or laterocavernous extension, and 27 had petro-clival extension. Surgery was performed via frontopterionotemporal craniotomy associated with orbital and/or zygomatic osteotomy in 97 patients. Proximal control of the internal carotid artery at the foramen lacerum was undertaken in 65 patients; the paraclinoid carotid segment was exposed extradurally at the space made by the anterior clinoidectomy in 81 patients. For the petroclival tumor extension, a second-stage surgery was performed via a presigmoid–retro-labyrinthine or retrosigmoid approach in 13 and 14 patients, respectively.
The mortality rate was 5% and two patients had severe hemiplegic or aphasic sequelae. The creation or aggravation of disorders in vision, ocular motility, or trigeminal function occurred in 19, 29, and 24% of patients respectively, with a significantly higher rate of complications when resection was performed inside the CS (p < 0.05).
Gross-total removal of both the extra- and intracavernous portions was achieved in 12 patients (Group 1), removal of the extracavernous portions with only a partial resection of the intracavernous portion in 28 patients (Group 2), and removal only of the extracavernous portions was performed in 60 patients (Group 3). The follow-up period ranged from 3 to 20 years (mean 8.3 years). There was no tumor recurrence in Group 1. In the 83 surviving patients in Groups 2 and 3 combined, the tumor remnant did not regrow in 72 patients (86.7%); regrowth was noted in 11 (13.3%).
The results suggest that there is no significant oncological benefit in performing surgery within the CS. Because entering the CS entails a significantly higher risk of complications, radiosurgical treatment should be reserved for remnants with secondary growth and clinical manifestations.