Stereotactic radiosurgery as the primary management for patients with Koos grade IV vestibular schwannomas

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  • 1 Departments of Neurological Surgery and
  • | 2 Radiation Oncology, and
  • | 3 Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and
  • | 4 Department of Neurological Surgery, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
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OBJECTIVE

While extensive long-term outcome studies support the role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for smaller-volume vestibular schwannomas (VSs), its role in the management for larger-volume tumors remains controversial.

METHODS

Between 1987 and 2017, the authors performed single-session SRS on 170 patients with previously untreated Koos grade IV VSs (volumes ranged from 5 to 20 cm3). The median tumor volume was 7.4 cm3. The median maximum extracanalicular tumor diameter was 27.5 mm. All tumors compressed the middle cerebellar peduncle and distorted the fourth ventricle. Ninety-three patients were male, 77 were female, and the median age was 61 years. Sixty-two patients had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] grades I and II). The median margin dose was 12.5 Gy.

RESULTS

At a median follow-up of 5.1 years, the progression-free survival rates of VSs treated with a margin dose ≥ 12.0 Gy were 98.4% at 3 years, 95.3% at 5 years, and 90.7% at 10 years. In contrast, the tumor control rate after delivery of a margin dose < 12.0 Gy was 76.9% at 3, 5, and 10 years. The hearing preservation rates in patients with serviceable hearing at the time of SRS were 58.1% at 3 years, 50.3% at 5 years, and 35.9% at 7 years. Younger age (< 60 years, p = 0.036) and initial GR grade I (p = 0.006) were associated with improved serviceable hearing preservation rate. Seven patients (4%) developed facial neuropathy during the follow-up interval. A smaller tumor volume (< 10 cm3, p = 0.002) and a lower margin dose (≤ 13.0 Gy, p < 0.001) were associated with preservation of facial nerve function. The probability of delayed facial neuropathy when the margin dose was ≤ 13.0 Gy was 1.1% at 10 years. Nine patients (5%) required a ventriculoperitoneal shunt because of delayed symptomatic hydrocephalus. Fifteen patients (9%) developed detectable trigeminal neuropathy. Delayed resection was performed in 4% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Even for larger-volume VSs, single-session SRS prevented the need for delayed resection in almost 90% at 10 years. For patients with minimal symptoms of tumor mass effect, SRS should be considered an effective alternative to surgery in most patients, especially those with advanced age or medical comorbidities.

ABBREVIATIONS

FSRT = fractionated SRT; GR = Gardner-Robertson; HB = House-Brackmann; PTA = pure tone average; SDS = speech discrimination score; SRS = stereotactic radiosurgery; SRT = stereotactic radiation therapy; VS = vestibular schwannoma.

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