Object: This study was undertaken to assess the long-term efficacy and toxicity of conventional fractionated external-beam radiation in the treatment of benign skull base meningioma.
Methods: This is a retrospective study of 82 patients with histologically verified benign skull base meningioma treated by surgery followed by fractionated external-beam radiation at the Royal Marsden Hospital between 1962 and 1992. The 5- and 10-year progression-free survival (PFS) rates were 92% and 83%, respectively, with the site of disease being the only independent prognostic factor for tumor control according to multivariate analysis. The 10-year PFS rate for patients with sphenoid ridge meningiomas was 69% compared with 90% for those with tumors in the parasellar region. The overall 10-year survival rate was 71%, with performance status and patient age found to be significant independent prognostic factors. Six patients had worsening vision, which was due to cataract in five cases and retinopathy in one. There were no recorded cases of cranial nerve neuropathy.
Conclusions: The excellent long-term tumor control and length of survival with minimal toxicity associated with conventional external-beam radiation should serve as a baseline for evaluation of new treatment strategies such as radiosurgery and skull base surgery.