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Acoustic neuroma

Last updated: February 24, 2021

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Acoustic neuromas (also known as vestibular schwannomas) are benign tumors that arise from Schwann cells and primarily originate within the vestibular portion of cranial nerve VIII. The tumor forms within the internal acoustic canal with variable extension into the cerebellopontine angle. Most tumors are unilateral. Bilateral acoustic neuromas strongly suggest the genetic condition neurofibromatosis type II. Symptoms are related to compression of cranial nerves VIII, V, VII, and the cerebellum. The most common symptom is unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Diagnosis of acoustic neuroma involves audiometry that demonstrates ipsilateral sensorineural hearing loss and MRI with contrast to confirm the tumor. For patients with large tumors or significant hearing loss, the treatment of choice is surgical removal or radiation therapy. However, observation with follow-up may be appropriate for patients with smaller tumors and minimal hearing loss. On average, the prognosis is favorable, as acoustic neuromas are usually benign, slow-growing tumors with low recurrence rates.

Bilateral acoustic neuromas are strongly associated with neurofibromatosis type II.

Epidemiological data refers to the US, unless otherwise specified.

  • For those with large tumors or significant hearing loss, the main treatment options are surgery or radiation therapy.
  • Observation of the tumor can be considered in patients with small tumors or minimal hearing loss, or if they are of advanced age. These patients should undergo MRI surveillance every 6–12 months. [4]
  • Good prognosis: Neuromas are a WHO grade I brain tumor with a low rate of recurrence (< 5%). [2]
  1. Marinelli JP, Lohse CM, Carlson ML. Incidence of Vestibular Schwannoma over the Past Half-Century: A Population-Based Study of Olmsted County, Minnesota.. Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 2018; 159 (4): p.717-723. doi: 10.1177/0194599818770629 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  2. Greene J, Al-Dhahir MA. Acoustic Neuroma. StatPearls. 2020 .
  3. Vestibular Schwannoma (Acoustic Neuroma) and Neurofibromatosis. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/vestibular-schwannoma-acoustic-neuroma-and-neurofibromatosis. Updated: May 27, 2016. Accessed: March 1, 2017.
  4. Goldbrunner R, Weller M, Regis J, et al. EANO guideline on the diagnosis and treatment of vestibular schwannoma.. Neuro Oncol. 2020; 22 (1): p.31-45. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/noz153 . | Open in Read by QxMD