Radiation dose to the cochlea has been proposed as a key prognostic factor in hearing preservation following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for vestibular schwannoma (VS). However, understanding of the predictive value of cochlear dose on hearing outcomes following SRS for patients with non-VS tumors of the lateral skull base (LSB) is incomplete. The authors investigated rates of hearing loss following high-dose SRS in patients with LSB non-VS lesions compared with patients with VS.
Patients with LSB meningioma or jugular paraganglioma and serviceable pretreatment hearing who underwent SRS treatment during 2007–2016 and received a modiolus dose > 5 Gy were included in a retrospective cohort study, along with a similarly identified control group of consecutive patients with sporadic VS.
Sixteen patients with non-VS tumors and a control group of 43 patients with VS met study criteria. Serviceable hearing, defined as American Academy of Otololaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery class A/B, was maintained in 13 non-VS versus 23 VS patients (81% vs 56%, p = 0.07). All 3 instances of hearing loss in non-VS patients were observed in cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningiomas. Non-VS with preserved hearing had a median modiolus dose of 6.9 Gy (range 5.7–19.2 Gy), versus 7.4 Gy (range 5.4–7.6 Gy) in those patients with post-SRS hearing loss (p = 0.53). Sporadic VS patients received an overall median modiolus point-dose of 6.8 Gy (range 5.4–11.7 Gy).
The modiolus dose threshold of 5 Gy does not predict hearing loss in patients with non-VS tumors undergoing SRS, suggesting that dosimetric parameters derived from VS may not be applicable to this population. Differential rates of hearing loss appear to vary by pathology, with paragangliomas and petroclival meningiomas demonstrating decreased risk of hearing loss compared to CPA meningiomas that may directly compress the cochlear nerve similarly to VS.