Author(s): Pourel N
BACKGROUND: This is a retrospective analysis of a series of meningiomas treated by radiotherapy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From 1978 to 1997, 45 patients with intracranial meningiomas were referred for external fractionated radiotherapy at Centre Alexis Vautrin. All patients were given 50-70Gy to the tumor bed (median: 56Gy), 1.8-2Gy per fraction.
RESULTS: Evaluation was performed in June 1999 using the Kaplan-Meyer actuarial method with a median follow-up of 30 months (range: 1-166), relapse-free survivals (RFSs) were 75% at 5 years and 67% at 8 years; overall survival (OS) was 74% at 5 and 8 years. For the 26 benign histologically documented lesions, RFSs were 95% at 5 years and 81% at 8 years; OS was 85% at 5 and 8 years. One major radiation-induced complication occurred in this series (decline of cognitive function). According to the indication of radiotherapy, we divided the series into four groups: postoperative irradiation after a first subtotal resection (11 patients), 5-year RFS was 90%; after first recurrence (+/-salvage surgery, 14 patients), 73%; after further recurrence (+/-salvage surgery, 11 patients), 67%; as exclusive treatment (nine patients), 80%. Atypical and malignant lesions (n=7) all relapsed before 24 months of follow-up, all patients but one died before 42 months. Age at the time of irradiation (> or =60 vs. <60 years) and radiotherapy dose (> or =60 vs. <60Gy) did not influence local control or OS. Atypical and malignant lesions (WHO grades II and III) meningiomas had a worse outcome than benign lesions (WHO grade I, P<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: These results compare favorably with previously published data. External fractionated radiotherapy is well tolerated and effective. There is still a debate about the place of radiotherapy in the treatment of meningiomas: after subtotal resection, should radiotherapy be given postoperatively or at the time of progression? Should radiotherapy replace surgery when the risk of postoperative sequellae is high? Prospective randomized trials would be required to address these issues.