Subclassification of Koos grade 4 vestibular schwannoma: insights into tumor morphology for predicting postoperative facial nerve function

J Neurosurg 140:127–137, 2024

OBJECTIVE Koos grade 4 vestibular schwannoma (KG4VS) is a large tumor that causes brainstem displacement and is generally considered a candidate for surgery. Few studies have examined the relationship between morphological differences in KG4VS other than tumor size and postoperative facial nerve function. The authors have developed a landmark-based subclassification of KG4VS that provides insights into the morphology of this tumor and can predict the risk of facial nerve injury during microsurgery. The aims of this study were to morphologically verify the validity of this subclassification and to clarify the relationship of the position of the center of the vestibular schwannoma within the cerebellopontine angle (CPA) cistern on preoperative MR images to postoperative facial nerve function in patients who underwent microsurgical resection of a vestibular schwannoma.

METHODS In this paper, the authors classified KG4VSs into two subtypes according to the position of the center of the KG4VS within the CPA cistern relative to the perpendicular bisector of the porus acusticus internus, which was the landmark for the subclassification. KG4VSs with ventral centers to the landmark were classified as type 4V, and those with dorsal centers as type 4D. The clinical impact of this subclassification on short- and long-term postoperative facial nerve function was analyzed.

RESULTS In this study, the authors retrospectively reviewed patients with vestibular schwannoma who were treated surgically via a retrosigmoid approach between January 2010 and March 2020. Of the 107 patients with KG4VS who met the inclusion criteria, 45 (42.1%) were classified as having type 4V (KG4VSs with centers ventral to the perpendicular bisector of the porous acusticus internus) and 62 (57.9%) as having type 4D (those with centers dorsal to the perpendicular bisector). Ventral extension to the perpendicular bisector of the porus acusticus internus was significantly greater in the type 4V group than in the type 4D group (p < 0.001), although there was no significant difference in the maximal ventrodorsal diameter. The rate of preservation of favorable facial nerve function (House-Brackmann grades I and II) was significantly lower in the type 4V group than in the type 4D group in terms of both short-term (46.7% vs 85.5%, p < 0.001) and long-term (82.9% vs 96.7%, p = 0.001) outcomes. Type 4V had a significantly negative impact on short-term (OR 7.67, 95% CI 2.90–20.3; p < 0.001) and long-term (OR 6.05, 95% CI 1.04–35.0; p = 0.045) facial nerve function after surgery when age, tumor size, and presence of a fundal fluid cap were taken into account.

CONCLUSIONS The authors have delineated two different morphological subtypes of KG4VS. This subclassification could predict short- and long-term facial nerve function after microsurgical resection of KG4VS via the retrosigmoid approach. The risk of postoperative facial palsy when attempting total resection is greater for type 4V than for type 4D. This classification into types 4V and 4D could help to predict the risk of facial nerve injury and generate more individualized surgical strategies for KG4VSs with better facial nerve outcomes.

 

Surgical outcomes in large vestibular schwannomas: should cerebellopontine edema be considered in the grading systems?

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1749–1755

Large (> 3 cm) vestibular schwannomas pose complexity in surgical management because of narrow working corridors and proximity to the cranial nerves, brainstem, and inner ear structures. With current vestibular schwannoma classifications limited in information regarding cerebellopontine edema, our retrospective series examined this radiographic feature relative to clinical outcomes and its possible role in preoperative scoring.

Methods Of 230 patients who underwent surgical resection of vestibular schwannoma (2014–2020), we identified 107 patients with Koos grades 3 or 4 tumors for radiographic assessment of edema in the middle cerebellar peduncle (MCP), brainstem, or both. Radiographic images were graded and patients grouped into Koos grades 3 or 4 or our proposed grade 5 with edema. Tumor volumes, radiographic features, clinical presentations, and clinical outcomes were evaluated.

Results The 107 patients included 22 patients with grade 3 tumors, 39 with grade 4, and 46 with grade 5. No statistical differences were noted among groups for demographic data or complication rates. Unlike grades 3 and 4 patients, grade 5 patients presented with worse hearing (p < 0.001), larger tumors (p < 0.001), lower rates of gross total resection (GTR), longer hospital stays, and higher rates of balance dysfunction.

Conclusion With edema detected in 43% of this cohort, special considerations are warranted for grade 5 vestibular schwannomas given the preoperative findings of worse hearing, lower GTR rates, longer hospital stays, and 96% who pursued postoperative balance therapy. We propose that grade 5 with edema offers a more nuanced interpretation of a radiographic feature that holds relevance to treatment selection and patient outcomes.

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.

Stereotactic radiosurgery as the primary management for patients with Koos grade IV vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg 135:1058–1066, 2021

While extensive long-term outcome studies support the role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for smaller volume vestibular schwannomas (VSs), its role in the management for larger-volume tumors remains controversial.

METHODS Between 1987 and 2017, the authors performed single-session SRS on 170 patients with previously untreated Koos grade IV VSs (volumes ranged from 5 to 20 cm3). The median tumor volume was 7.4 cm3. The median maximum extracanalicular tumor diameter was 27.5 mm. All tumors compressed the middle cerebellar peduncle and distorted the fourth ventricle. Ninety-three patients were male, 77 were female, and the median age was 61 years. Sixtytwo patients had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] grades I and II). The median margin dose was 12.5 Gy.

RESULTS At a median follow-up of 5.1 years, the progression-free survival rates of VSs treated with a margin dose ≥ 12.0 Gy were 98.4% at 3 years, 95.3% at 5 years, and 90.7% at 10 years. In contrast, the tumor control rate after delivery of a margin dose < 12.0 Gy was 76.9% at 3, 5, and 10 years. The hearing preservation rates in patients with serviceable hearing at the time of SRS were 58.1% at 3 years, 50.3% at 5 years, and 35.9% at 7 years. Younger age (< 60 years, p = 0.036) and initial GR grade I (p = 0.006) were associated with improved serviceable hearing preservation rate. Seven patients (4%) developed facial neuropathy during the follow-up interval. A smaller tumor volume (< 10 cm3, p = 0.002) and a lower margin dose (≤ 13.0 Gy, p < 0.001) were associated with preservation of facial nerve function. The probability of delayed facial neuropathy when the margin dose was ≤ 13.0 Gy was 1.1% at 10 years. Nine patients (5%) required a ventriculoperitoneal shunt because of delayed symptomatic hydrocephalus. Fifteen patients (9%) developed detectable trigeminal neuropathy. Delayed resection was performed in 4% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS Even for larger-volume VSs, single-session SRS prevented the need for delayed resection in almost 90% at 10 years. For patients with minimal symptoms of tumor mass effect, SRS should be considered an effective alternative to surgery in most patients, especially those with advanced age or medical comorbidities.

Stereotactic radiosurgery as the first-line treatment for intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg 135:1051–1057, 2021

This report evaluates the outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as the first-line treatment of intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas (VSs).

METHODS Between 1987 and 2017, the authors identified 209 patients who underwent SRS as the primary intervention for a unilateral intracanalicular VS. The median patient age was 54 years (range 22–85 years); 94 patients were male and 115 were female. Three patients had facial neuropathy at the time of SRS. One hundred fifty-five patients (74%) had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] grades I and II) at the time of SRS. The median tumor volume was 0.17 cm3 (range 0.015–0.63 cm3). The median margin dose was 12.5 Gy (range 11.0–25.0 Gy). The median maximum dose was 24.0 Gy (range 15.7–50.0 Gy).

RESULTS The progression-free survival rates of all patients with intracanalicular VS were 97.5% at 3 years, 95.6% at 5 years, and 92.1% at 10 years. The rates of freedom from the need for any additional intervention were 99.4% at 3 years, 98.3% at 5 years, and 98.3% at 10 years. The serviceable hearing preservation rates in GR grade I and II patients at the time of SRS were 76.6% at 3 years, 63.5% at 5 years, and 27.3% at 10 years. In univariate analysis, younger age (< 55 years, p = 0.011), better initial hearing (GR grade I, p < 0.001), and smaller tumor volumes (< 0.14 cm3, p = 0.016) were significantly associated with improved hearing preservation. In multivariate analysis, better hearing (GR grade I, p = 0.001, HR 2.869, 95% CI 1.569–5.248) and smaller tumor volumes (< 0.14 cm3, p = 0.033, HR 2.071, 95% CI 1.059–4.047) at the time of SRS were significantly associated with improved hearing preservation. The hearing preservation rates of patients with GR grade I VS were 88.1% at 3 years, 77.9% at 5 years, and 38.1% at 10 years. The hearing preservation rates of patients with VSs smaller than 0.14 cm3 were 85.5% at 3 years, 77.7% at 5 years, and 42.6% at 10 years. Facial neuropathy developed in 1.4% from 6 to 156 months after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS SRS provided sustained tumor control in more than 90% of patients with intracanalicular VS at 10 years and freedom from the need for additional intervention in more than 98% at 10 years. Patients with initially better hearing and smaller VSs had enhanced serviceable hearing preservation during an observation interval up to 10 years after SRS.

Impact of vestibular nerve preservation on facial and hearing outcomes in small vestibular schwannoma surgery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2219–2224

Management of small vestibular schwannomas (VSs) remains controversial. When surgery is chosen, the preservation of facial and cochlear nerve function is a priority. In this report, we introduce and evaluate a technique to anatomically preserve the vestibular nerves to minimize manipulation and preserve the function of the facial and cochlear nerves.

Methods The vestibular nerve preservation technique was prospectively applied to resect small VS tumors in patients with serviceable preoperative hearing (American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) class A or B). Clinical and radiological data were recorded and analyzed.

Results Ten patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean (SD) age was 40.4 (12.5) years. Follow-up ranged from 6 weeks to 2 years. The maximum tumor diameter parallel to the internal auditory canal ranged from 10 to 20 mm (mean, 14.9 (3.1) mm). There were three Koos grade 3 and seven Koos grade 2 tumors. Gross total resection was achieved in all cases. Both the facial and cochlear nerves were anatomically preserved in all cases. Postoperatively, 7 patients (70%) remained in the AAO-HNS class A or B hearing category. None of the patients had new vestibular symptoms, and all had House–Brackmann grade 1 facial function. Nervus intermedius dysfunction was observed in 1 patient preoperatively, which worsened postoperatively. Two patients had new nervus intermedius symptoms postoperatively.

Conclusion Improvement of facial nerve and hearing outcomes is feasible through the intentional preservation of the vestibular nerves in the resection of small VSs. Longer follow-up is required to rule out tumor recurrence.

Stereotactic radiosurgery as the first-line treatment for intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg February 5, 2021: 1-7

This report evaluates the outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as the first-line treatment of intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas (VSs).

METHODS Between 1987 and 2017, the authors identified 209 patients who underwent SRS as the primary intervention for a unilateral intracanalicular VS. The median patient age was 54 years (range 22–85 years); 94 patients were male and 115 were female. Three patients had facial neuropathy at the time of SRS. One hundred fifty-five patients (74%) had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] grades I and II) at the time of SRS. The median tumor volume was 0.17 cm3 (range 0.015–0.63 cm3). The median margin dose was 12.5 Gy (range 11.0–25.0 Gy). The median maximum dose was 24.0 Gy (range 15.7–50.0 Gy).

RESULTS The progression-free survival rates of all patients with intracanalicular VS were 97.5% at 3 years, 95.6% at 5 years, and 92.1% at 10 years. The rates of freedom from the need for any additional intervention were 99.4% at 3 years, 98.3% at 5 years, and 98.3% at 10 years. The serviceable hearing preservation rates in GR grade I and II patients at the time of SRS were 76.6% at 3 years, 63.5% at 5 years, and 27.3% at 10 years. In univariate analysis, younger age (< 55 years, p = 0.011), better initial hearing (GR grade I, p < 0.001), and smaller tumor volumes (< 0.14 cm3, p = 0.016) were significantly associated with improved hearing preservation. In multivariate analysis, better hearing (GR grade I, p = 0.001, HR 2.869, 95% CI 1.569–5.248) and smaller tumor volumes (< 0.14 cm3, p = 0.033, HR 2.071, 95% CI 1.059–4.047) at the time of SRS were significantly associated with improved hearing preservation. The hearing preservation rates of patients with GR grade I VS were 88.1% at 3 years, 77.9% at 5 years, and 38.1% at 10 years. The hearing preservation rates of patients with VSs smaller than 0.14 cm3 were 85.5% at 3 years, 77.7% at 5 years, and 42.6% at 10 years. Facial neuropathy developed in 1.4% from 6 to 156 months after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS SRS provided sustained tumor control in more than 90% of patients with intracanalicular VS at 10 years and freedom from the need for additional intervention in more than 98% at 10 years. Patients with initially better hearing and smaller VSs had enhanced serviceable hearing preservation during an observation interval up to 10 years after SRS.