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Clin Otolaryngol. 2008 Jun;33(3):255-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-4486.2008.01705.x.

Conservative management of vestibular schwannomas: third review of a 10-year prospective study.


Seventy-two patients with a unilateral vestibular schwannoma have been treated conservatively for a median of 121 months. They have been followed prospectively by serial clinical examination, MRI scans and audiometry. Twenty-five patients (35%, 95% CI: 24-47) failed conservative management and required active intervention during the study. No factors predictive of tumour growth or failure of conservative management could be identified. Seventy-five per cent of failures occurred in the first half of the 10-year study. The median growth rate for all tumours at 10 years was 1 mm/year (range -0.53-7.84). Cerebellopontine angle tumours grew faster (1.4 mm/year) than intracanalicular tumours (0 mm/year, P < 0.01); 92% had growth rates under 2 mm/year. Hearing deteriorated substantially even in tumours that did not grow, but did so faster in tumours that grew significantly (mean deterioration in pure tone average at 0.5, 1, 2 and 3 kHz was 36 dB; speech discrimination scores deteriorated by 40%). Patients who failed conservative management had clinical outcomes that were not different from those who underwent primary treatment without a period of conservative management.

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