Systematic review of quality of life in the management of vestibular schwannoma

Andrew Gauden*, Philip Weir, Graeme Hawthorne, Andrew Kaye

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Vestibular schwannoma (VS) is a benign tumour arising from the vestibular component of the vestibulocochlear nerve. Treatment protocols range from observation to microsurgical resection (MS) or radiation therapy using focused delivery techniques: either stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT). Most reported outcome measures explore medically orientated results such as extent of resection or facial nerve function and do not give any insight into how the initial disease, the treatment or operative complications impinge upon the patient's quality of life (QoL). The primary aim of this review was to appraise the quality of research concerning the measurement of QoL in patients with VS. A systematic review was performed including trials of patients with newly diagnosed VS undergoing MS, SRT/SRS, or observation with a measure of QoL. Only trials of prospective design were included. Excluded trials included participants with recurrent disease or comorbidities, and studies reporting patients with VS in association with neurofibromatosis type 2. Each trial for inclusion was assessed for bias and underwent formal data extraction. Between 1973 and 2010, 47 unique trials were identified with eight trials of prospective design. All included studies were prospective non-randomised, observational convenience sampled trials. No randomised control trials or systematic reviews were identified. The most common QoL measure used was the Short Form Questionnaire (SF-36), although it has not been validated in VS. The included trials suggest that the treatment protocols of MS and SRS/SRT are of equal efficacy with regard to impact on QoL; however, the trials were hetereogenous and suffered from a variety of methodological deficiencies. Given this heterogeneity, no meta-analysis was able to be performed. The available literature on QoL in the treatment of VS suffers from significant methodological weaknesses making it difficult to make any assessment as to the efficacy on QoL of available treatment options for VS. Further well-designed, randomised prospective research is necessary to understand this condition, its effect on QoL and how QoL outcomes may be used alongside clinical indicators in making treatment decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1573-1584
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • acoustic neuroma
  • microsurgery
  • observation
  • patient reported outcomes
  • quality of life
  • radiosurgery
  • vestibular schwannoma

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