, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 181-189

Treatment of pituitary adenomas using radiosurgery and radiotherapy: a single center experience and review of literature

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Abstract

Fractionated radiotherapy (FRT) and gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery (GKSRS) are used as adjuvant therapies to surgical resection for functional and non-functional pituitary adenomas, although their optimum role in the treatment algorithm, as well as long-term safety and efficacy, still awaits further study. We report a single center experience with 33 patients with non-functional (16 patients), ACTH- (five patients), GH- (four patients), or prolactin-secreting (eight patients) tumors treated with FRT or SRS. The median tumor diameter was 1.9 cm, and the median follow-up was 36 months. For GKSRS, the median dosage was 16 Gy for non-functional adenomas and 23 Gy for hormone-secreting tumors. The median total dose for FRT was 50.4 Gy over 28 fractions (median). Two patients (6%) demonstrated radiographic evidence of tumor progression, three patients (9%) demonstrated radiation-induced visual field deficits on neuro-ophthalmic evaluation, and two patients (6%) suffered from radiation-induced hypopituitarism. Biochemical control, defined as normalized hormone values in the absence of medical therapy, was achieved in five out of eight prolactinoma patients and two out of five patients with Cushing’s disease, but none of the four patients with acromegaly. These results are presented with a review of the relevant literature on the differential characteristics of FRT versus SRS in the treatment of functional and non-functional pituitary adenomas and validate postoperative irradiation as a potentially safe and effective means for tumor control.