Sphenoid wing meningiomas are a heterogeneous group of tumors with variable surgical risks and prognosis. Those that have grown to a very large size, encasing the major cerebral arteries, are associated with a high risk of stroke. In reviewing the authors’ series of giant sphenoid wing meningiomas, the goal was to evaluate how the extent of the tumor’s invasion of surrounding structures affected the ability to safely remove the tumor and restore function.
The authors conducted a retrospective study of a series of giant sphenoid wing meningiomas operated on between 1996 and 2016. Inclusion criteria were meningiomas with a globoid component ≥ 6 cm, encasing at least 1 major intradural cerebral artery. Extent of resection was measured according to Simpson grade.
This series included 12 patients, with a mean age of 59 years. Visual symptoms were the most common clinical presentation. There was complete or partial encasement of all 3 major cerebral arteries except for 3 cases in which only the anterior cerebral artery was not involved. The lateral wall of the cavernous sinus was invaded in 8 cases (67%) and the optic canal in 6 (50%). Complete resection was achieved in 2 cases (Simpson grades 2 and 3). In the remaining 10 cases of partial resection (Simpson grade 4), radical removal (> 90%) was achieved in 7 cases (70%). In the immediate postoperative period, there were no deaths. Four of 9 patients with visual deficits improved, while the 5 others remained unchanged. Two patients experienced transient neurological deficits. Other than an asymptomatic lacuna of the internal capsule, there were no ischemic lesions following surgery. Tumor recurrence occurred in 5 patients, between 24 and 168 months (mean 61 months) following surgery.
Although these giant lesions encasing major cerebral arteries are particularly treacherous for surgery, this series demonstrates that it is possible to safely achieve radical removal and at times even gross-total resection. However, the risk of recurrence remains high and larger studies are needed to see if and how improvement can be achieved, whether in surgical technique or technological advances, and by determining the timing and modality of adjuvant radiation therapy.