Innovative Neurofibromatosis Treatment at University Hospitals
Medication, Radiation and Innovative Surgical Techniques
University Hospitals Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) Center offers a variety of treatment options, allowing customized care plans to be tailored specifically to meet the special needs of each individual patient and his or her family.
Tumors brought on by NF2 can be treated in a number of ways, including:
- Auditory brainstem implants (ABI)/cochlear implants
- Medication management using Avastin
Surgery is the most common treatment, but because some NF2 tumors are located in the skull base, their removal often requires a multidisciplinary team of experts from neurosurgery, otolaryngology and ophthalmology. In certain instances, stereotactic radiosurgery – radiation delivered precisely to the tumor – is an option.
Although tumors associated with NF2 are benign, their location on or near the brain, spinal cord or nerves creates a more complex surgical situation. In some situations, surgery may be too risky. For some tumors, radiation and/or chemotherapy are available.
Auditory brainstem implants (ABI)/cochlear implants are another surgical solution for patients suffering from hearing loss due to NF2. ABIs are only offered at a select and limited number of specialized NF2 Centers in the U.S.
NF2 also can be treated by use of the drug Avastin, an antibody anti-cancer medication. In some cases, Avastin has improved hearing loss and reduced tumor volume in patients with growing tumors.
Treatment is just one step in combating NF2. Patients are advised to undergo the following each year:
- Physical exam
- Neurological evaluation
- Auditory screening, including a brainstem auditory-evoked response test
- MRI of the brain and spinal cord
- Eye exam
While not a treatment option, patients and family members may benefit from genetic counseling. This can be provided by the University Hospitals Center for Human Genetics.