OBJECTIVE: To establish a safe and effective treatment strategy for cavernous sinus (CS) meningiomas, we prospectively analyzed the outcome of a treatment protocol combining surgery and radiosurgery during the past 7 years.
METHODS: Tumors confined to the CS and distant from the optic apparatus and the brainstem were treated with radiosurgery alone. Tumors attached to or compressing the optic apparatus and brainstem and that were larger than 3 cm in mean diameter, extended into the multiple cranial fossae, and were suspected of being malignant were treated with combined nonradical microsurgery and radiosurgery.
RESULTS: In accordance with this treatment protocol, 40 patients aged 26 to 72 years (median, 51 yr) with primary (n = 27) or recurrent (n = 13) CS meningiomas (volume range, 0.9–39.3 cm3; median volume, 5.4 cm3) were treated with combined surgery and radiosurgery (n = 23) or radiosurgery alone (n = 17). During radiosurgery, 12 to 18 Gy (median, 16 Gy) was delivered to the tumor margin. The follow-up period ranged from 14 to 79 months (median, 47 mo). The actuarial tumor control rate was 94.1% at 5 years. The improvement of cranial nerve function was significantly frequent in patients with primary CS meningiomas (P < 0.05). Permanent cranial nerve dysfunction was significantly frequent in patients with tumors compressing the brainstem or smaller than 10 cm3 (P < 0.05). All 36 patients with a pretreatment Karnofsky Performance Scale score of 90 or more maintained the same range after treatment.
CONCLUSION: Proper combination of microsurgery and radiosurgery for CS meningiomas provides excellent growth control with favorable functional state. Outcomes were better when this protocol was adopted at the initial diagnosis for patients with smaller tumors that did not compress the brainstem.