Does tumoral cavernous carotid stenosis predict an increased risk of future stroke in skull base meningiomas?

J Neurosurg 139:1613–1618, 2023

Skull base meningiomas (SBMs) involving the cavernous sinus encase the internal carotid artery (ICA) and may lead to stenosis of the vessel. Although ischemic stroke has been reported in the literature, there are to the authors’ knowledge no reported studies quantifying the risk of stroke in these patients. The authors aimed to determine the frequency of arterial stenosis in patients with SBMs that encase the cavernous ICA and to estimate the risk of ischemic stroke in these patients.

METHODS Records of all patients with SBM encasing the ICA whose cases were managed by the skull base multidisciplinary team at Salford Royal Hospital between 2011 and 2017 were reviewed using a two-stage approach: 1) clinical and radiological strokes were identified from electronic patient records, and 2) cases were reviewed to examine the correlation between ICA stenosis associated with SBM encasement and anatomically related stroke. Strokes that were caused by another pathology or did not occur in the perfusion territory were excluded.

RESULTS In the review of patient records the authors identified 118 patients with SBMs encasing the ICA. Of these, 62 SBMs caused stenosis. The median age at diagnosis was 70 (IQR 24) years, and 70% of the patients were female. The median follow-up was 97 (IQR 101) months. A total of 13 strokes were identified in these patients; however, only 1 case of stroke was associated with SBM encasement, which occurred in the perfusion territory of a patient without stenosis. Risk of acute stroke during the follow-up period for the entire cohort was 0.85%.

CONCLUSIONS Acute stroke in patients with ICA encasement by SBMs is rare despite the propensity of these tumors to stenose the ICA. Patients with ICA stenosis secondary to their SBM did not have a higher incidence of stroke than those with ICA encasement without stenosis. The results of this study demonstrate that prophylactic intervention to prevent stroke is not necessary in ICA stenosis secondary to SBM.