Benign meningioma: partially resected, biopsied, and recurrent intracranial tumors treated with combined proton and photon radiotherapy

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2000 Dec 1;48(5):1363-70. doi: 10.1016/s0360-3016(00)01411-5.


Purpose/objective: To evaluate the recurrence-free survival and complications of combined proton and photon radiotherapy of patients with incompletely resected or recurrent histologically-confirmed benign meningioma.

Methods and materials: Between May 1981 and November 1996, 46 patients with partially resected, biopsied, or recurrent meningiomas (median age of 50 years; range 11-74 years) were treated with combined photon and 160-MeV proton beam therapy at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory, using computed tomography-based conformal 3D treatment planning. Nine patients were treated after incomplete tumor resection, 8 patients after tumor biopsy only, and 29 patients after tumor recurrence following gross total (10/29 patients) or progression after subtotal (19/29 patients) resection. All patients were classified as benign meningioma on review slides at MGH. The median dose to the macroscopic gross tumor volume was 59.0 CGE (range 53.1-74.1 CGE, CGE = proton Gy x 1.1 RBE). The median follow-up was 53 months (range 12-207).

Results: Overall survival at 5 and 10 years was 93 and 77%, respectively, and the recurrence-free rate at 5 and 10 years was 100% and 88%, respectively. Survival without severe toxicity was 80% at 5 and 10 years. Three patients presented with local tumor recurrence at 61, 95, and 125 months. One patient developed distant intradural metastasis at 21 and 88 months. No patient died from recurrent meningioma; however, 4 patients died of other causes. A fifth patient died from a brainstem necrosis after 22 months. Eight patients developed severe long-term toxicity from radiotherapy, including ophthalmologic (4 patients), neurologic (4 patients), and otologic (2 patients) complications. All patients with ophthalmologic toxicity received doses higher than those allowed for the optic nerve structures in the current protocol.

Conclusion: Combined proton and photon radiotherapy is an effective treatment for patients with recurrent or incompletely resected benign intracranial menigiomas. Observed toxicity appears to be dose-related; with currently employed dose constraints, toxicity should not exceed that seen in patients treated with conformal fractionated supervoltage photon radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Meningioma / pathology
  • Meningioma / radiotherapy*
  • Meningioma / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Photons / adverse effects
  • Photons / therapeutic use*
  • Proton Therapy*
  • Protons / adverse effects
  • Radiation Injuries / mortality
  • Radiation Injuries / pathology
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis


  • Protons