What Is The Prognosis For Nerve Sheath Tumor?

Nerve sheath tumor is the uncontrolled division of the cells of myelin sheath. This sheath is responsible for proper conduction of nerve impulse. The prognosis of the tumor depends upon the type of tumor whether it is benign or malignant. The benign tumor has excellent prognosis while malignant tumor has poor prognosis.

What Is The Prognosis For Nerve Sheath Tumor?

What Is The Prognosis For Nerve Sheath Tumor?

Prognosis Of Benign Nerve Sheath Tumor

The prognosis of benign nerve sheath tumor is more favorable as compared to malignant tumor as they are slow in growth and does not have the potential to metastasize. The treatment for the benign tumor is not aggressive and the physicians generally prefer wait-and-watch approach and continuously monitor its growth. The benign nerve sheath tumors not pose any threat to the life and their removal depends upon various factors such as location, age and medical history of the patient. The nerve sheath tumor, even if it is benign, may cause some serious symptoms that creates obstacles in performing day-to-day activities as these tumors may compress the nerve supply of various organs. This may result in numbness, tingling sensation, reduced muscular activity, hearing loss, loss of coordination and paralysis. Being not a life-threatening condition, the prognosis of benign nerve sheath tumor is excellent.

Prognosis Of Malignant Nerve Sheath Tumor

The malignant nerve sheath tumor is a soft tissue tumor having low prevalence of about 5%-7% of all the soft tissue tumor. The annual incidence of malignant tumor is about 1 in 1 million people and is strongly related with the presence of neurofibromatosis type 1. The prognosis of malignant tumor is less favorable as compared to benign rumor and the patients with malignant nerve sheath tumor has low survival rate. The 5-year survival rate is around 50% to 55% while the 10-year survival rate is around 40-45%. As the patients suffering with neurofibromatosis type 1 have a faulty tumor suppressor activity, they are at a very high risk of developing the benign as well as malignant nerve sheath tumor. The prognosis and the survival rate depend upon the following factors:

Location: Location of the tumor is very important in analyzing the prognosis of the disease. If the tumor is in such a place where the surgery is not possible, and the patient is not responding to chemotherapy, the survival rate of the patient would be very low.

Stage: Stage is also an important factor for survival rate. Higher the stage in which the disease is diagnosed, lesser the chances of survival as the disease may be have acquired the whole organ or may have been metastasized.

Metastasis: If the disease is diagnosed in the later stage and the nerve sheath tumor is metastasized, the prognosis is unfavorable.

Size: Size of the nerve sheath tumor also affects the outcome of the disease.

Chemotherapy: Patients’ response to chemotherapy also impacts the outcome of the disease. If the patient quickly responds to chemotherapy and other treatment regimens, outcome of the disease is good.

Resection Margin: A positive resection margin is considered as a poor prognostic factor. Clear resection margins increase the survival rate of a person suffering from nerve sheath tumor.

To increase the survival rate, wide excision of the tumor should be done before it gets metastasized distantly. Further, after the treatment, the recurrence risk exists especially in the patients having large tumors and in patients suffering from neurofibromatosis.

Risk Of Malignant Nerve Sheath Tumor

Genetic Cause- An inherited syndrome, neurofibromatosis, increases the risk of malignant nerve sheath tumor. In this condition, the tumor suppressor activity of the cells is reduced, increasing the risk of developing benign as well as malignant tumor.

Radiation Therapy For Cancer- If the patients have undergone the radiotherapy for treating any other cancer, then the chances of contracting nerve sheath tumor are high.

Benign Nerve Sheath Tumor- Benign nerve sheath tumor may also transform in to malignant nerve sheath tumor.


Like other tumors, the prognosis of the nerve sheath tumor depends upon various factors such as location, size, metastasis, response to chemotherapy and resection margin. The 5-year survival rate is about 55% while the10 year survival rate is 45%. The risk of recurrence exits especially in patients with neurofibromatosis.