Treatment policy for petroclival meningioma based on tumor size: aiming radical removal in small tumors for obtaining cure without morbidity

Neurosurg Rev (2011) 34:327–335. DOI 10.1007/s10143-011-0308-7

Aggressive tumor removal is not always the best treatment for petroclival meningioma (PCM). However, radical removal actually provides the cure with minimal morbidity.

We evaluated the relation of surgical results and tumor size in the PCM removal to clarify the treatment policy for PCM. This study comprised 32 consecutive patients with newly-diagnosed PCM who underwent tumor removal; tumor size was small (< 3 cm) in 12 patients and large (≥3 cm) in 20. Tumor removal was classified into radical (Simpson’s grade I/II) and non-radical (Simpson’s grade III/IV). Removal of small PCM was 11 radical and one non-radical; no surgical morbidity/mortality occurred and postoperative regular follow-up using magnetic resonance imaging showed no recurrence in the period of 66± 45 months. Removal of large PCM was eight radical and 12 non-radical; despite no mortality, the incidence of permanent cranial nerve deficits and major neurological deficits newly developed postoperatively was 35% and 25%, respectively. Radical removal was significantly more frequent in small PCMs than in large PCMs. Permanent cranial nerve deficits newly developed postoperatively and poor outcome (Karnofsky score ≤80) were significantly more frequent in large PCMs than in small PCMs. Radical removal of small PCM is achieved with minimal morbidity and results in the cure. Notwithstanding high morbidity, aggressive removal of large PCM does not achieve a high rate of radical removal.

To find and remove PCM radically while it is small is the only way to cure the disease with minimal morbidity.