The optimal treatment for patients with glomus jugulare tumor (GJT) of the skull base remains controversial. Surgical excision is associated with a high incidence of cranial nerve injury, decreased quality of life, and high mortality. Fractionated radiotherapy is used to control the majority of these tumors, but disadvantages are a prolonged therapy interval and exposition of adjacent brain tissue to irradiation. The authors present the results of a study on 12 of 14 consecutively admitted patients who were treated using linear accelerator-based radiosurgery (LINAC-RS), an innovative method for the treatment of GJT.
From May 1991 to March 2001, 14 patients with GJT were treated with stereotactic LINAC-RS for continued growth of tumor or of remaining tumor after surgery. Twelve patients (9 women and 3 men; age range, 28–71 years; median age, 59 years) with a median follow-up of 4 years (range, 0.8–9,0 years), were selected for retrospective analysis. A median single dose of 15 grays (Gy; range, 11–20 Gy) was applied to the surface of the tumor.
After undergoing LINAC-RS, 8 of 12 patients (67%) reported partial or complete subjective improvement, whereas complaints remained unchanged in 4 patients (33%). Neurologic status improved in 3 patients (25%) and remained unchanged in 8 patients (67%). Magnetic resonance images showed tumor shrinkage in 8 patients (67%) and no further progression in 4 patients (33%).
LINAC-RS is an effective and safe therapy for patients with GJT and may be used as an alternative to surgical resection. Compared with fractionated radiotherapy, LINAC-RS has some advantages. However, to clarify the question of long-term tumor control, longer observation times are required. Cancer 2003;97:1093–98. © 2003 American Cancer Society.