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J Neurosurg. 2013 Aug;119(2):475-81. doi: 10.3171/2012.12.JNS12414. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

The impact of adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery on atypical meningioma recurrence following aggressive microsurgical resection.

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Division of Neurological Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA.



Patients with atypical meningioma often undergo gross-total resection (GTR) at initial presentation, but the role of adjuvant radiation therapy remains unclear. The increasing prevalence of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the modern neurosurgical era has led to the use of routine postoperative radiation therapy in the absence of evidence-based guidelines. This study sought to define the long-term recurrence rate of atypical meningiomas and identify the value of SRS in affecting outcome.


The authors identified 228 patients with microsurgically treated atypical meningiomas who underwent a total of 257 resections at the Barrow Neurological Institute over the last 20 years. Atypical meningiomas were diagnosed according to current WHO criteria. Clinical and radiographic data were collected retrospectively.


Median clinical and radiographic follow-up was 52 months. Gross-total resection, defined as Simpson Grade I or II resection, was achieved in 149 patients (58%). The median proliferative index was 6.9% (range 0.4%-20.6%). Overall 51 patients (22%) demonstrated tumor recurrence at a median of 20.2 months postoperatively. Seventy-one patients (31%) underwent adjuvant radiation postoperatively, with 32 patients (14%) receiving adjuvant SRS and 39 patients (17%) receiving adjuvant intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). The recurrence rate for patients receiving SRS was 25% (8/32) and for IMRT was 18% (7/39), which was not significantly different from the overall group. Gross-total resection was predictive of progression-free survival (PFS; relative risk 0.255, p < 0.0001), but postoperative SRS was not associated with improved PFS in all patients or in only those with subtotal resections.


Atypical meningiomas are increasingly irradiated, even after complete or near-complete microsurgical resection. This analysis of the largest patient series to date suggests that close observation remains reasonable in the setting of aggressive microsurgical resection. Although postoperative adjuvant SRS did not significantly affect tumor recurrence rates in this experience, a larger cohort study with longer follow-up may reveal a therapeutic benefit in the future.

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