BACKGROUND: As new treatment modalities develop for the management of vestibular schwannomas (VS) in patients with neurofibromatosis type 2, it remains crucial to ascertain the natural history of the disease.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the relationship between hearing and tumor growth in patients undergoing conservative VS management.
METHODS: Patients harboring bilateral VS with at least 1 year of radiological follow-up were selected. Conservative management was proposed based on the small tumor size and/or serviceable hearing at presentation. Tumor size was calculated by using the 2-component box model and reported as mean tumor diameter. Hearing was evaluated by using pure-tone average and the American Academy of Otololaryngologists and Head and Neck Surgery classification.
RESULTS: Forty-six patients harboring 92 VS were included. The mean clinical and radiological follow-up times were 6.0 and 4.2 years, respectively. The mean tumor diameter was 13 mm at presentation and 20 mm at the end of follow-up. Mean tumor growth rate was 1.8 mm/year. During follow-up, 17 patients (37%) underwent surgery for VS. Surgery-free rate for VS was 88% at 5 years. The number of patients with at least 1 serviceable ear was 39 (85%) at presentation and 34 (74%) at the end of follow-up, including 22 (66%) with binaural serviceable hearing maintained. There was no statistical correlation between tumor growth rate and preservation of serviceable hearing. Tumor growth rates and age at presentation were inversely correlated.
CONCLUSION: This study illustrates the high variability among neurofibromatosis type 2 patients regarding hearing status and VS growth rate and justifies the choice of initial conservative management in selected cases.
ABBREVIATIONS: AAO-HNS, American Academy of Otololaryngologists and Head and Neck Surgery classification
MTD, mean tumor diameter
NF2, neurofibromatosis type 2
PTA, pure-tone average
SDS, speech discrimination score
VS, vestibular schwannomas