This study aimed to verify the effect of proactive Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) in the treatment of asymptomatic meningioma compared with the natural course without any therapeutic intervention.
From January 2006 to May 2017, 354 patients newly diagnosed with asymptomatic meningioma were reviewed and categorized into GKS (n = 153) and observation (n = 201) groups. Clinical and radiological progression rates were examined, and changes in volume were analyzed.
Clinical progression (i.e., clinician-judged progression), combining symptomatic progression (n = 43) and clinician-judged increase in size using images routinely acquired (n = 34), occurred in 4 patients (2.6%) and 73 patients (36.3%) in the GKS and observation groups, respectively (p < 0.001). The clinical progression-free survival (PFS) rates in the GKS and observation groups were 98.7% and 64.6%, respectively, at 5 years (p < 0.001), and 92.9% and 42.7%, respectively, at 10 years (p < 0.001). The radiological tumor control rate was 94.1% in the GKS group, and radiological progression was noted in 141 patients (70.1%) in the observation group. The radiological PFS rates in the GKS and observation groups were 94.4% and 38.5%, respectively, at 5 years (p < 0.001), and 88.5% and 7.9%, respectively, at 10 years (p < 0.001). Young age, absence of calcification, peritumoral edema, and high T2 signal intensity were correlated with clinical progression in the observation group. Volumetric analysis showed that untreated tumors gradually increased in size. However, GKS-treated tumors shrank gradually, although transient volume expansion was observed in the first 6 months. Adverse events developed in 26 of the 195 GKS-treated patients (13.3%), including 1 (0.5%) major event requiring microsurgery due to severe edema after GKS. Peritumoral edema was related to the development of adverse events (p = 0.004).
Asymptomatic meningioma is a benign disease; however, nearly two-thirds of patients experience tumor growth and one-third of untreated patients eventually require neurosurgical interventions during watchful waiting. GKS can control tumors clinically and radiologically with high probability. Although the risk of transient adverse events exists, proactive GKS may be a reasonable treatment option when there are no comorbidities limiting life expectancy.