Objective: Radiosurgery is increasingly being used to treat cranial base tumors. Since 1989, 55 patients with cranial base meningiomas were treated at Stanford University Medical Center with linear accelerator radiosurgery. An analysis of the clinical and radiographic results of this patient population was the focus of this study.
Methods: The mean patient age was 55.1 years (range, 28-82 yr). The mean tumor volume was 7.33 cm3 (range, 0.45-27.65 cm3). The radiation dose averaged 18.3 Gy (range, 12-25 Gy), delivered with an average of 2.2 isocenters (range, 1-5). Patients were evaluated retrospectively through clinic notes from follow-up examinations, and residual tumor volume was measured during follow-up imaging studies. The length of follow-up averaged 48.4 months (range, 17-81 mo).
Results: Tumor stabilization after radiosurgery was noted in 38 patients (69%), shrinkage in 16 patients (29%), and enlargement in only 1 patient (2%). The results of follow-up magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated decreased central contrast uptake in 11 meningiomas (20%), possibly indicating evidence of central tumor necrosis or tumor vessel obliteration. Neurological status was improved in 15 patients in the series (27%) and unchanged in 34 patients (62%). Three patients (5%) died during the follow-up period, all as a result of causes other than tumor progression. Three patients (5%) developed new permanent symptoms (one patient with seizures, one patient with mild right hemiparesis, and one patient with both vagal and hypoglossal nerve palsy). All other complications were transient, including partial trigeminal nerve palsy in seven patients and diplopia in three patients. The 2-year actuarial tumor control rate was 98%.
Conclusions: Although our follow-up period is short, this experience corroborates previous reports that radiosurgery can be used to ablate selected small cranial base meningiomas, with good clinical results and modest morbidity.