Review of radiation therapy services for neurofibromatosis (NF2) patients in England

Catherine E. Gilkes, D. Gareth Evans

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective. It is widely accepted that stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is less effective in controlling NF2-related vestibular schwannomas (VS-NF2), than sporadic VS. Concerns persist regarding the risks of malignant transformation and the development of secondary tumours. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of centres offering SRS and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) services for VS. The NF2 National Commissioning Group service framework has recommended limiting radiation therapies for VS-NF2 to SRS (Gamma Knife) provided in Sheffield. The aims of this review were to: 1) Establish the current provision of SRT and SRS services in England. 2) Determine the radiation therapies employed for NF2 patients since 2000. 3) Determine the feasibility of identifying a national cohort of NF2 patients in England who have received radiation therapy since 2000. Methods. The lead clinicians managing VS patients in the major regional neurosurgical units in England, and those providing SRS services to NF2 patients were contacted and when possible, databases were examined. Results. A total of 18 NHS centres and 2 private centres were included. This included the four NF2 'hub centres' (Cambridge, London, Oxford and Manchester). Their NF2 databases identified 4, 8, 23 and 42 VS-NF2 treatments with SRS or SRT, respectively since 2000. Eleven centres reported that they had referred VS-NF2 patients exclusively to Sheffield. Each estimated that they had referred no more than one patient per year. The survey identified four Gamma Knife Centres and six Linac SRS/SRT centres with the capacity to treat VS and VS-NF2 patients. Of these, four centres confirmed that they had treated VS-NF2 patients. Conclusion. Since 2000 fewer than 100 SRS and SRT treatments have been undertaken for VS-NF2 patients. Approximately 60% of these have been performed in Sheffield. There is considerable uncertainty regarding the role of radiation therapy in the management of VS-NF2 and consequently a range of views and practice. © 2014 The Neurosurgical Foundation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16-19
    Number of pages3
    JournalBritish journal of neurosurgery
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


    • Gamma knife
    • National commissioning
    • NF2
    • Stereotactic radiosurgery
    • Stereotactic radiotherapy


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