Background: As optic nerve sheath meningiomas (ONSM) are rare, there are no prospective studies. Our retrospective analysis focusses on a cohort of patients with uniform disease characteristics all treated with the same radiotherapy regimen. We describe treatment decision making, radiotherapy planning and detailed neuro-ophthalmological outcome of the patients.
Methods: 26 patients with unilateral ONSM extending only to the orbit and the optic canal were evaluated for neuro-ophthalmological outcome. Radiation treatment was planned in a simultaneous integrated boost approach to gross tumor volume (GTV) + 2 mm / 5 mm to 54 Gy / 51 Gy in 1.8 Gy / 1.7 Gy fractions. Follow-up was done by specialized neuro-ophthalmologists. Visual acuity and visual field defects were evaluated after therapy as well as during follow-up.
Results: Interdisciplinary treatment decision for patients with ONSM follows a rather complex decision tree. Radiation treatment planning (equivalent uniform dose (EUD), maximum dose to the optic nerve) improved with experience over time. With this patient selection visual acuity as well as visual field improved significantly at first follow-up after treatment. For visual acuity this also applied to patients with severe defects before treatment. Long term evaluation showed 16 patients with improved visual function, 6 were stable, in 4 patients visual function declined. Interdisciplinary case discussion rated the visual decline as radiation-associated in two patients.
Conclusions: With stringent patient selection radiotherapy for unilateral primary ONSM to 51 Gy / 54 Gy is safe and leads to significantly improved visual function. Interdisciplinary treatment decision and experience of the radiation oncology team play a major role.
Keywords: Meningioma; Neuroophthalmology; Optic nerve; Stereotatic radiotherapy; Visual acuity; Visual field.