The longitudinal volumetric response of vestibular schwannomas after Gamma Knife radiosurgery

J Neurosurg 138:1273–1280, 2023

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is an effective treatment for vestibular schwannomas (VSs) and has been used in > 100,000 cases worldwide. In the present study the authors sought to define the serial volumetric tumor response of Koos grade I–IV VS after radiosurgery.

METHODS A total of 201 consecutive VS patients underwent GKRS at a single institution between 2015 and 2019. All patients had a minimum follow-up of 18 months and at least 2 interval postprocedure MRI scans. The contrast-enhanced tumor volumes were contoured manually and compared between pre- and post-GKRS imaging. The percentages of tumor volume change at 18 months (short-term follow-up) and up to 5 years after GKRS (long-term follow-up) were compared with the baseline tumor volume. An increase of 20% was considered a significant increase of tumor volume. Trends of tumor volume over time were assessed with linear models using time as a continuous variable. A test for linear trend was evaluated according to the initial Koos tumor classification.

RESULTS Koos grade II VS was the most frequently occurring tumor (n = 74, 36.8%), followed by grade III (n = 57, 28.4%), grade I (n = 41, 20.4%), and grade IV (n = 29, 14.4%). The mean tumor volume at the time of GKRS was 2.12 ±2.82 cm 3 (range 0.12–18.77 cm 3 ) and the median margin dose was 12 Gy. Short-term follow-up revealed that tumor volumes transiently increased in 34.2% and 28.4% of patients at 6 and 18 months, respectively, regardless of Koos grade. Linear regression analysis of Koos grade II, III, and IV tumors showed a significant longitudinal volume decrease on long-term follow-up. At last follow-up (median 30 months, range 18–54 months), 19 patients (9.4%) showed a persistent increase of tumor volume. Five patients received additional management after GKRS.

CONCLUSIONS Although selected VS patients demonstrate an early and measurable transient volumetric increase after GKRS, > 90% have stable or reduced tumor volumes over an observed period of up to 5 years. Volumetric regression is most pronounced in Koos grade II, III, and IV tumors and may not be fully detectable until 3 years after GKRS.