Spontaneous Volumetric Tumor Regression during Wait-and-Scan Management of 952 Sporadic Vestibular Schwannomas

John P. Marinelli, Daniel E. Killeen, Zane Schnurman, Ashley M. Nassiri, Jacob B. Hunter, Katherine A. Lees, Christine M. Lohse, Thomas J. Roland, John G. Golfinos, Douglas Kondziolka, Michael J. Link, Matthew L. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Spontaneous tumor shrinkage during wait-and-scan management of sporadic vestibular schwannoma is generally considered an uncommon phenomenon. However, most data informing this understanding stem from single-slice linear tumor measurements taken in the axial imaging plane. The objective of the current work was to characterize the regression capacity of sporadic vestibular schwannomas using volumetric tumor measurements. Study Design Retrospective cohort study using slice-by-slice, three-dimensional volumetric tumor measurements. Setting Three tertiary referral centers. Patients Patients with sporadic vestibular schwannoma. Interventions Wait-and-scan. Main Outcome Measures Regression-free survival rates with regression defined as a decrease of at least 20% of the tumor volume. Results Among 952 patients undergoing a total of 3,505 magnetic resonance imaging studies during observation, 123 experienced volumetric tumor regression after diagnosis at a median of 1.2 years (interquartile range, 0.6-2.9 yr). Volumetric regression-free survival rates (95% confidence interval; number still at risk) at 1, 3, and 5 years after diagnosis were 94% (92-95%; 662), 86% (83-89%; 275), and 78% (73-82%; 132), respectively. Among 405 patients who demonstrated an initial period of tumor growth but continued wait-and-scan management, 48 experienced volumetric regression at a median of 1.2 years (interquartile range, 0.8-2.6 yr) after initial growth. Volumetric regression-free survival rates at 1, 3, and 5 years after initial growth were 94% (92-97%; 260), 84% (79-89%; 99), and 75% (67-83%; 43), respectively. Ultimately, only 82 of the 952 patients studied showed exclusively volumetric tumor regression (i.e., without any periods of tumor growth) by the time of last follow-up. Conclusion Spontaneous volumetric tumor shrinkage during wait-and-scan management occurs more frequently than suggested by previous studies using linear tumor measurements and can even occur after previous episodes of documented tumor growth. These data further highlight the dynamic nature of vestibular schwannoma growth. To this end, the application of natural history data to patient management requires a nuanced approach that parallels the complex tumor behavior of vestibular schwannoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1034-E1038
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Growth
  • Natural history
  • Observation
  • Wait-and-scan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Spontaneous Volumetric Tumor Regression during Wait-and-Scan Management of 952 Sporadic Vestibular Schwannomas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this