Resection of meningiomas involving the cavernous sinus often is incomplete and associated with considerable morbidity. As a result, an increasing number of patients with such tumors have been treated with gamma knife surgery (GKS). However, few studies have investigated the long-term outcome for this group of patients.
METHODS: 100 patients (23 male/77 female) with meningiomas involving the cavernous sinus received GKS at the Department of Neurosurgery at Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway, between November 1988 and July 2006. They were followed for a mean of 82.0 (range, 0–243) months. Only 2 patients were lost to long-term follow-up. Sixty patients underwent craniotomy before radiosurgery, whereas radiosurgery was the primary treatment for 40 patients.
RESULTS: Tumor growth control was achieved in 84.0% of patients. Twelve patients required re-treatment: craniotomy (7), radiosurgery (1), or both (4). Three out of 5 patients with repeated radiosurgery demonstrated secondary tumor growth control. Excluding atypical meningiomas, the growth control rate was 90.4%. The 1-, 5-, and 10-year actuarial tumor growth control rates are 98.9%, 94.2%, and 91.6%, respectively. Treatment failure was preceded by clinical symptoms in 14 of 15 patients. Most tumor growths appeared within 2.5 years. Only one third grew later (range, 6–20 yr). The complication rate was 6.0%: optic neuropathy (2), pituitary dysfunction (3), worsening of diplopia (1), and radiation edema (1). Mortality was 0. At last follow-up, 88.0% were able to live independent lives.
CONCLUSION: GKS gives long-term growth control and has a low complication rate. Most tumor growths manifest within 3 years following treatment. However, some appear late, emphasizing the need for long-term follow-up.