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Cochlea-sparing acoustic neuroma treatment with 4π radiation therapy.



This study investigates whether 4π noncoplanar radiation therapy can spare the cochleae and consequently potentially improve hearing preservation in patients with acoustic neuroma who are treated with radiation therapy.

Methods and materials

Clinical radiation therapy plans for 30 patients with acoustic neuroma were included (14 stereotactic radiation surgery [SRS], 6 stereotactic radiation therapy [SRT], and 10 intensity modulated radiation therapy [IMRT]). The 4π plans were created for each patient with 20 optimal beams selected using a greedy column generation method and subsequently recalculated in Eclipse for comparison. Organ-at-risk (OAR) doses, homogeneity index, conformity, and tumor control probability (TCP) were compared. Normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) was calculated for sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) at 3 and 5 years posttreatment. The dose for each plan was then escalated to achieve 99.5% TCP.


4π significantly reduced the mean dose to both cochleae by 2.0 Gy (32%) for SRS, 3.2 Gy (29%) for SRT, and 10.0 Gy (32%) for IMRT. The maximum dose to both cochleae was also reduced with 4π by 1.6 Gy (20%), 2.2 Gy (15%), and 7.1 Gy (18%) for SRS, SRT, and IMRT plans, respectively. The reductions in mean/maximum brainstem dose with 4π were also statistically significant. Mean doses to other OARs were reduced by 19% to 56% on average. 4π plans had a similar CN and TCP, with a significantly higher average homogeneity index (0.93 vs 0.92) and significantly lower average NTCP for SNHL at both 3 years (30.8% vs 40.8%) and 5 years (43.3% vs 61.7%). An average dose escalation of approximately 116% of the prescription dose achieved 99.5% TCP, which resulted in 32.6% and 43.4% NTCP for SNHL at 3 years and 46.4% and 64.7% at 5 years for 4π and clinical plans, respectively.


Compared with clinical planning methods, optimized 4π radiation therapy enables statistically significant sparing of the cochleae in acoustic neuroma treatment as well as lowering of other OAR doses, potentially reducing the risk of hearing loss.

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