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Hearing preservation after radiotherapy for vestibular schwannomas is comparable to hearing deterioration in healthy adults and is accompanied by local tumor control and a highly preserved quality of life (QOL) as patients’ self-reported outcome

Radiotherapy and Oncology
DOI: 10.1016/j.radonc.2012.12.004
  • Acoustic Neuroma
  • Local Control
  • Radiosurgery
  • Radiation
  • Hearing Preservation
  • Medicine
  • Physics


Abstract Purpose To evaluate long-term results and patients’ self-reported outcome of high-precision photon radiotherapy for the treatment of patients with vestibular schwannoma (VS). Methods and materials We treated 246 patients with 248 VS with fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT) or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). For FSRT, a median total dose of 57.6Gy was prescribed in median single doses of 1.8Gy, for SRS, a median dose of 13Gy/80% isodose was applied. Of all patients, 51 patients died during follow-up. To evaluate long-term toxicity and QOL, we sent out a questionnaire to all living patients; of these, 81 patients (42%) sent back the questionnaire. Results Median local control was 84months, actuarial local control rates for both groups (SRS and FSRT) were 98% after 2, 95% after 5, and 93% after 10years; there was no statistical difference between FSRT and SRS. Hearing deterioration was significantly higher in the SRS group than the FSRT group. However, when comparing FSRT to SRS with doses⩽13Gy, hearing preservation is comparable. In patients with useful hearing, hearing preservation was 89.7% at 1 year, 84.7% at 3years, 76.5% at 5years, and 68.6% at 10 years. After 10years of follow-up, hearing deterioration can be observed in both subgroups. In the FSRT group, facial nerve toxicity rate was 1.6%. Trigeminal nerve toxicity was observed in 2.1% after FSRT. Overall QOL was unchanged in 47% of the patients after RT, and 31% reported an improvement in QOL during follow-up. Conclusion Patients’ self-reported outcome confirms good results with respect to tumor control and QOL after FSRT or SRS in patients with VS. SRS can be associated with higher side effect following a dose-dependency. In long-term follow-up, hearing deterioration is most likely attributed to normal aging, but not treatment-related.

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