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Conservative Management Versus Stereotactic Radiation for Vestibular Schwannomas: A Meta-Analysis of Patients With More Than 5 Years’ Follow-Up

Maniakas, Anastasios*; Saliba, Issam

doi: 10.1097/MAO.0b013e318241c086
Tumors of the Ear and Cranial Base

Objective To compare the long-term outcome of hearing and tumor control of small vestibular schwannomas treated with conservative management or radiation therapy.

Data Sources A thorough search for English-language publications and “in-process” articles dating from 1948 to January 2011 was performed using Ovid MEDLINE.

Study Selection The principal criteria were patients with no microsurgical intervention before their treatment, a follow-up of at least 5 years, and a useful hearing level at diagnosis.

Data Extraction Fourteen studies met our criteria. Hearing preservation outcome (worse, unchanged, and better) and tumor size outcome (growth, unchanged, and regression) data were collected from the articles, as well as all other significant observations. No studies using fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy met our criteria. Stereotactic radiation was the only radiation therapy analyzed.

Data Synthesis The data were analyzed using the Pearson χ2 test.

Conclusion Current data on conservative management and stereotactic radiation do not provide enough evidence to make a clear conclusion on the outcome of useful hearing preservation in a long-term manner. In this study, however, stereotactic radiation is shown to have better tumor control rates than conservative management. Additional studies reporting long-term follow-ups of patients are required so as to provide the medical field with a better understanding of vestibular schwannoma treatment therapies.

*University of Montreal, Faculty of Medicine, †Division of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Issam Saliba, M.D., F.R.C.S.C., Montreal University Hospital Center (CHUM), Notre Dame Hospital, Division of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, 1560 Sherbrooke Street East, Montreal, QC-H2L 4M1, Canada; E-mail:

Sources of financial support or funding: This study has no financial support or funding.

No funding received for this work from any of the following organizations: National Institutes of Health, Welcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, or other.

© 2012 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.