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Windisch, Paul; Tonn, Jörg-Christian; Fürweger, Christoph; Ehret, Felix; Wowra, Berndt; Kufeld, Markus; Schichor, Christian and Muacevic, Alexander (2021): Longitudinal Changes of Quality of Life and Hearing Following Radiosurgery for Vestibular Schwannoma. In: Cancers, Vol. 13, No. 6, 1315

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Simple Summary Since vestibular schwannomas are slow-growing tumors that can be controlled with different treatment modalities such as neurosurgery or radiotherapy, preserving quality of life is an important consideration. In this study, we analyzed how quality of life (QoL) changes for patients who receive stereotactic radiation in the months and years after treatment and if there is a correlation between changes in QoL and changes in hearing function. The results suggest that proper hearing of the unaffected ear might compensate for a hearing loss of the other ear due to the tumor or the treatment and in turn preserve QoL. However, this association should be confirmed in additional studies. Background: Most existing publications on quality of life (QoL) following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for vestibular schwannomas (VS) gather information retrospectively by conducting surveys several years after treatment. The purpose of this study is therefore to provide longitudinal QoL data and assess how changes in hearing impact QoL. Methods: Patients completed the 12-item short-form (SF-12) health survey prior to treatment and at every follow-up visit. One hundred and seventy-five patients who had complete forms prior to treatment as well as at an early and at a late follow-up were included in the analysis. For 51 of these patients, longitudinal audiometry data were available. Results: Median follow-up was 7.2 years. Patients experienced a significant reduction in the physical composite score (PCS, p = 0.011) compared to before treatment. The mental composite score (MCS) increased significantly (p = 0.032). A decrease in PCS was not significantly correlated with an increased hearing threshold on the affected but rather on the unaffected ear (r(49) = -0.32, p = 0.023). Conclusions: It is unclear whether the decline in the PCS is due to treatment-related toxicity or the normal decline of PCS with age. Ensuring proper hearing on the untreated ear might be crucial to ensure good QoL for patients treated with SRS for VS, though this association should be confirmed in additional studies.

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