Introduction: Skull base meningiomas present a difficult surgical challenge because of the high potential morbidity of radical surgical extirpation and their low potential for incapacitating symptomatology. The focal character of meningiomas makes stereotactic radiosurgery an attractive adjuvant treatment modality to resection. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the local control rates and complications in 56 patients with base of skull meningiomas undergoing radiosurgery.
Methods: Patients underwent radiosurgery using the dedicated stereotactic linear accelerator at the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Minimal peripheral doses of radiosurgery ranged from 12 to 18.5 Gy (mean 15 Gy). Doses were designed to conform to the frequently irregular tumor volumes using the X-Knife treatment planning system. Multiple isocenters were used when required to increase conformality of dose. For 36 patients (64%), radiosurgery was used as an adjunct to surgery; for 20 patients (36%) it was the primary treatment.
Results: Median followup was five years. Nineteen patients (34%) were improved clinically at follow-up; 32 (57%) were unchanged; and 5 patients (9%) developed new or worsened neurologic deficits. Serial imaging studies after radiosurgery showed a reduction in tumor volume in 23 patients (41%); 30 (54%) showed stable disease; 3 patients (5%) had tumors which increased in size (2 being outside the radiosurgery treatment site). The actuarial freedom from progression rate (defined as further tumor growth) was thus 95%, with a median imaging follow-up of 26 months (range, 6-66 months). Although further follow-up is necessary, the results of this series clearly demonstrate that these lesions are feasible for treatment by modern radiosurgical techniques. Linac radiosurgery can stabilize skull base meningiomas, with decreased or unchanged tumor volumes on radiologic follow-up in approximately 95% of patients. Radiosurgery is a low-morbidity, effective technique as adjunct and sometimes primary treatment of small to moderate-sized meningiomas of the skull base.