Stereotactic radiosurgery as the first-line treatment for intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg 135:1051–1057, 2021

This report evaluates the outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as the first-line treatment of intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas (VSs).

METHODS Between 1987 and 2017, the authors identified 209 patients who underwent SRS as the primary intervention for a unilateral intracanalicular VS. The median patient age was 54 years (range 22–85 years); 94 patients were male and 115 were female. Three patients had facial neuropathy at the time of SRS. One hundred fifty-five patients (74%) had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] grades I and II) at the time of SRS. The median tumor volume was 0.17 cm3 (range 0.015–0.63 cm3). The median margin dose was 12.5 Gy (range 11.0–25.0 Gy). The median maximum dose was 24.0 Gy (range 15.7–50.0 Gy).

RESULTS The progression-free survival rates of all patients with intracanalicular VS were 97.5% at 3 years, 95.6% at 5 years, and 92.1% at 10 years. The rates of freedom from the need for any additional intervention were 99.4% at 3 years, 98.3% at 5 years, and 98.3% at 10 years. The serviceable hearing preservation rates in GR grade I and II patients at the time of SRS were 76.6% at 3 years, 63.5% at 5 years, and 27.3% at 10 years. In univariate analysis, younger age (< 55 years, p = 0.011), better initial hearing (GR grade I, p < 0.001), and smaller tumor volumes (< 0.14 cm3, p = 0.016) were significantly associated with improved hearing preservation. In multivariate analysis, better hearing (GR grade I, p = 0.001, HR 2.869, 95% CI 1.569–5.248) and smaller tumor volumes (< 0.14 cm3, p = 0.033, HR 2.071, 95% CI 1.059–4.047) at the time of SRS were significantly associated with improved hearing preservation. The hearing preservation rates of patients with GR grade I VS were 88.1% at 3 years, 77.9% at 5 years, and 38.1% at 10 years. The hearing preservation rates of patients with VSs smaller than 0.14 cm3 were 85.5% at 3 years, 77.7% at 5 years, and 42.6% at 10 years. Facial neuropathy developed in 1.4% from 6 to 156 months after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS SRS provided sustained tumor control in more than 90% of patients with intracanalicular VS at 10 years and freedom from the need for additional intervention in more than 98% at 10 years. Patients with initially better hearing and smaller VSs had enhanced serviceable hearing preservation during an observation interval up to 10 years after SRS.