Object: The aim of this study was to clarify the clinical outcome of schwannomatosis, a rare condition characterized by multiple nonvestibular schwannomas in the absence of meningiomas, intraspinal ependymomas, and other clinical signs of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2).
Methods: Nine patients with schwannomatosis treated at one institution are presented and their clinical course during a median follow-up time of 9.9 years is discussed. The patients were typically middle-aged at the time of their first operation (median 43.5 years), none had a positive family history of schwannomatosis or NF2, and none showed cutaneous or ocular signs of NF2. On histopathological examination the tumors from the patients with schwannomatosis showed a lobular appearance and frequent Verocay bodies, signs indicating NF2, more often than 20 sporadic schwannomas that were investigated as controls. Two patients died of unrelated causes at 3.2 and 9.9 years, respectively, of follow up. Magnetic resonance images of the head and spine were obtained in seven patients at the end of the follow-up period. New spinal schwannomas were detected in one patient and a residual schwannoma in three. No germline mutations of the NF2 gene were found in these seven patients. Two additional patients originally included in the schwannomatosis group who were 8.6 and 11.7 years old at initial surgery had NF2. One was diagnosed at follow-up review and the other developed a fulminant disease that led to death in 4 years.
Conclusions: The clinical course, long-term outcome, and genetic mechanism of schwannomatosis differ from that of NF2.