Matched Comparison of Hearing Outcomes in Patients With Vestibular Schwannoma Treated With Stereotactic Radiosurgery or Observation

Neurosurgery 91:641–647, 2022

Previous studies comparing hearing outcomes in patients managed with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and a watch-and-wait strategy were limited by small sample sizes that prevented controlling for potential confounders, including initial hearing status, tumor size, and age.

OBJECTIVE: To compare hearing outcomes for patients with vestibular schwannomas (VS) managed with observation and SRS while controlling for confounders with propensity score matching.

METHODS: Propensity score matching was used to compare 198 patients with unilateral VS with initial serviceable hearing (99 treated with SRS and 99 managed with observation alone) and 116 with initial class A hearing (58 managed with SRS and 58 with observation), matched by initial hearing status, tumor volume, age, and sex. Kaplan–Meier survival methods were used to compare risk of losing class A and serviceable hearing.

RESULTS: Between patients with VS managed with SRS or observation alone, there was no significant difference in loss of class A hearing (median time 27.2 months, 95% CI 16.843.4, and 29.2 months, 95% CI 20.4-62.5, P = .88) or serviceable hearing (median time 37.7 months, 95% CI 25.7-58.4, and 48.8 months, 95% CI 38.4-86.3, P = .18). For SRS patients, increasing mean cochlear dose was not related to loss of class A hearing (hazard ratio 1.3, P = .17) but was associated with increasing risk of serviceable hearing loss (hazard ratio of 1.5 per increase in Gy, P = .017).

CONCLUSION: When controlling for potential confounders, there was no significant difference in loss of class A or serviceable hearing between patients managed with SRS or with observation alone.