Comparing the impact of upfront radiosurgery versus expectation in vestibular schwannoma (the V-REX study): protocol for a randomised, observer-blinded, 4-year, parallel-group, single-centre, superiority study

BMJ Open. 2021 Mar 17;11(3):e039396. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-039396.


Introduction: The optimal management of small-sized to medium-sized vestibular schwannoma (VS) is a matter of controversy. Clinical results of the prevailing treatment modalities (microsurgery, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and conservative management (CM)) are documented, but comparative studies are few, and none are randomised or blinded. Upfront radiosurgery, or a careful follow-up by MRI with subsequent treatment on growth, are two strategies used at many centres. The present study aims at comparing these strategies by randomising individuals with newly diagnosed tumours to either upfront SRS or initial CM.

Methods and analysis: The Vestibular Schwannoma: Radiosurgery or Expectation study is designed as a randomised, controlled, observer-blinded, single-centre superiority trial with two parallel groups. Eligible patients will be randomised using sequentially numbered opaque sealed envelopes, and the radiosurgery group will undergo standard Gamma Knife Radiosurgery (GKRS) within 2 months following randomisation. The primary endpoint is tumour growth measured as volume ratio V4years/Vbaseline and volume doubling time, evaluated by annual T1 contrast MRI volumetric analysis. Secondary endpoints include symptom and sign development measured by clinical examination, audiovestibular tests, and by patient's responses to standardised validated questionnaires. In addition, the patient's working status, and the health economics involved with both strategies will be evaluated and compared. All outcome assessments will be performed by blinded observers. Power analysis indicates that 100 patients is sufficient to demonstrate the effect of GKRS on tumour volume.

Ethics and dissemination: The trial has ethical approval from the Regional Ethical Committee (23503) and funding from The Western Norway Regional Health Authority. Trial methods and results will be reported according to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials 2010 guidelines in a peer-reviewed journal.

Trial registration number: Clinical trials: NCT02249572. Haukeland University Hospital record: 2014/314. Regional Ethical Committee (REC West): 23 503. The Western Norway Regional Health Authority: 912 281.

Keywords: head & neck tumours; magnetic resonance imaging; neurosurgery; neurotology; radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Neuroma, Acoustic* / diagnostic imaging
  • Neuroma, Acoustic* / surgery
  • Norway
  • Radiosurgery*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data