Pretreatment growth rate as a predictor of tumor control following Gamma Knife radiosurgery for sporadic vestibular schwannoma

Alexander P. Marston, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Matthew L. Carlson, Bruce E. Pollock, Colin L.W. Driscoll, Michael J. Link

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Over the last 30 years, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has become an established noninvasive treatment alternative for small- to medium-sized vestibular schwannoma (VS). This study aims to further define long-term SRS tumor control in patients with documented pretreatment tumor growth for whom conservative observation failed. METHODS A prospective clinical database was queried, and patients with sporadic VS who elected initial observation and subsequently underwent SRS after documented tumor growth between 2004 and 2014 were identified. Posttreatment tumor growth or shrinkage was determined by a ≥ 2-mm increase or decrease in maximum linear dimension, respectively. RESULTS Sixty-eight patients met study inclusion criteria. The median pre- and posttreatment observation periods were 16 and 43.5 months, respectively. The median dose to the tumor margin was 13 Gy (range 12-14 Gy), and the median maximum dose was 26 Gy (range 24-28 Gy). At the time of treatment, 59 tumors exhibited extracanalicular (EC) extension, and 9 were intracanalicular (IC). Of the 59 EC VSs, 50 (85%) remained stable or decreased in size following treatment, and 9 (15%) enlarged by > 2 mm. Among EC tumors, the median pretreatment tumor growth rate was 2.08 mm/year for tumors that decreased or were stable, compared with 3.26 mm/year for tumors that grew following SRS (p = 0.009). Patients who demonstrated a pretreatment growth rate of < 2.5 mm/year exhibited a 97% tumor control rate, compared with 69% for those demonstrating ≥ 2.5 mm/year of growth prior to SRS (p = 0.007). No other analyzed variables were found to predict tumor growth following SRS. CONCLUSIONS Overall, SRS administered using a marginal dose between 12-14 Gy is highly effective in treating VSs in which initial observation fails. Tumor control is achieved in 97% of VSs that exhibit slow (< 2.5 mm/year) pretreatment growth; however, SRS is less successful in treating tumors exhibiting rapid growth (≥ 2.5 mm/year).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-387
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Gamma Knife radiosurgery
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Vestibular schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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