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J Neurosurg. 2018 Jan;128(1):49-59. doi: 10.3171/2016.9.JNS161463. Epub 2017 Jan 27.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery for treatment of growing vestibular schwannomas in patients with neurofibromatosis Type 2: a matched cohort study with sporadic vestibular schwannomas.

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1Department of ENT, Donders Center for Neurosciences, Radboudumc, Nijmegen; and.
2Gamma Knife Center Tilburg, St. Elisabeth Hospital, Tilburg, The Netherlands.


OBJECTIVE Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) is a tumor syndrome characterized by an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. The hallmark of NF2 is the development of bilateral vestibular schwannomas (VSs), generally by 30 years of age. One of the first-line treatment options for small to medium-large VSs is radiosurgery. Although radiosurgery shows excellent results in sporadic VS, its use in NF2-related VS is still a topic of dispute. The aim of this study was to evaluate long-term tumor control, hearing preservation rates, and factors influencing outcome of optimally dosed, contemporary Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for growing VSs in patients with NF2 and compare the findings to data obtained in patients with sporadic VS also treated by means of GKRS. METHODS The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 47 growing VSs in 34 NF2 patients who underwent GKRS treatment performed with either the Model C or Perfexion Leksell Gamma Knife, with a median margin dose of 11 Gy. Actuarial tumor control rates were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. For patient- and treatment-related factors, a Cox proportional hazards model was used to identify predictors of outcome. Trigeminal, facial, and vestibulocochlear nerve function were assessed before and after treatment. NF2-related VS patients were matched 1:1 with sporadic VS patients who were treated in the same institute, and the same indications for treatment, definitions, and dosimetry were used in order to compare outcomes. RESULTS Actuarial tumor control rates in NF2 patients after 1, 3, 5, and 8 years were 98%, 89%, 87%, and 87%, respectively. Phenotype and tumor volume had significant hazard rates of 0.086 and 22.99, respectively, showing that Feiling-Gardner phenotype and a tumor volume not exceeding 6 cm3 both were associated with significantly better outcome. Actuarial rates of serviceable hearing preservation after 1, 3, 5, and 7 years were 95%, 82%, 59%, and 33%, respectively. None of the patients experienced worsening of trigeminal nerve function. Facial nerve function worsened in 1 patient (2.5%). No significant differences in tumor control, hearing preservation, or complications were found in comparing the results of GKRS for NF2-related VS versus GKRS for sporadic VS. CONCLUSIONS With modern GKRS, the use of low margin doses for treating growing VSs in patients with NF2 demonstrates good long-term tumor control rates. Feiling-Gardner phenotype and tumor volume smaller than 6 cm3 seem to be independently associated with prolonged progression-free survival, highlighting the clinical importance of phenotype assessment before GKRS treatment. In addition, no significant differences in tumor control rates or complications were found in the matched-control cohort analysis comparing GKRS for VS in patients with NF2 and GKRS for sporadic VS. These results show that GKRS is a valid treatment option for NF2-related VS, in addition to being a good option for sporadic VS, particularly in patients with the Feiling-Gardner phenotype and/or tumors that are small to medium in size. Larger tumors in patients with the Wishart phenotype appear to respond poorly to radiosurgery, and other treatment modalities should therefore be considered in such cases.


GKRS = Gamma Knife radiosurgery; Gamma Knife radiosurgery; NF2 = neurofibromatosis Type 2; PFS = progression-free survival; VS = vestibular schwannoma; hearing preservation; neurofibromatosis Type 2; skull base; tumor control; vestibular schwannoma


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