Stereotactic radiosurgery for the treatment of hypoglossal schwannoma: a multi-institutional retrospective study

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2022 Sep;164(9):2473-2481. doi: 10.1007/s00701-022-05187-w. Epub 2022 Mar 26.


Background: Surgical removal has been performed as the first line treatment for symptomatic or enlarging hypoglossal schwannomas (HS). Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) offers a minimally invasive approach that may afford long-term tumor control for patients with HS particularly those who refuse or are unfit for surgery. This study evaluates outcomes after SRS performed for both newly diagnosed and residual tumors after incomplete resection.

Methods: This retrospective, multi-institutional study involved patients treated with adjuvant or primary SRS for HS. The study end-points included local tumor response, clinical outcomes, and procedure-related complications. All the patients had Gamma Knife SRS.

Results: The cohort included 12 patients (five females), median age at SRS 49.5 years (range, 37-76)]. The median tumor target volume was 5.9 cm3 (range, 0.7-27.23). At median imaging follow-up of 37 months (range, 6-153), tumor control was achieved in 11 patients. Tumor enlargement that was managed with surgical resection was noted at the 6-month follow-up in one patient. At median clinical follow-up of 30.5 months (range, 6-157), stability, or improvement of all pre-SRS signs and symptoms was noted in nine patients. Two patients experienced worsening of at least one pre-existing symptoms or sign. New-onset trapezius weakness was noted in one patient and tongue atrophy in two patients.

Conclusion: Single-fraction SRS appears to be a safe and effective upfront and adjuvant treatment option for HS. SRS may be recommended as an alternative to surgery for patients presenting with HS or as an adjuvant treatment following subtotal resection and at HS recurrence.

Keywords: Gamma Knife surgery; Hypoglossal schwannoma; Stereotactic radiosurgery.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Neurilemmoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Neurilemmoma* / radiotherapy
  • Neurilemmoma* / surgery
  • Radiosurgery* / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome