Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 138, Issue 2, pp 335–340 | Cite as

Debulking surgery of pituitary adenoma as a strategy to facilitate definitive stereotactic radiosurgery

  • Neil Forster
  • Ronald Warnick
  • Vinita Takiar
  • Luke Pater
  • John Breneman
Clinical Study


In patients with pituitary adenomas (PA) who are unable to undergo complete surgical resection, radiation therapy (RT), specifically stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), results in excellent local control. However, the utility of radiosurgery may be limited by the proximity of the lesion to the optic chiasm (OC). We evaluate the efficacy of debulking surgery in increasing the PA-OC separation to convert patients into SRS candidates. From 2007 to 2015, 31 patients with PA < 2 mm from the OC underwent debulking surgery followed by RT within 2 years of resection. Coronal and sagittal T1-pre- and post-contrast sequences were used to determine PA-OC separation. Time interval between postoperative and pre-radiotherapy MRI scans and type of radiation therapy were analyzed. Functional tumor status, tumor characteristics [cavernous sinus (CS) or suprasellar (SS) involvement, chiasm/nerve encasement (NE)], and presence of ≥ 2 of these characteristics (multiple factors, MF) was also noted. Surgery converted 9 of 31 patients (29%) to SRS candidates. Median time from surgery to pre-RT planning MRI was 8 months (range 2–20). Of the 31 patients initially ineligible for SRS, 6 became eligible immediately after surgery, and another 3 were deemed eligible on follow-up. Mean PA-OC separation was 0.3 mm preoperative, 1.4 mm postoperative, and 2.1 mm at time of SRS (p = 0.002). Preoperative SS, NE, and MF involvement predicted pre-RT separation < 2 mm. Debulking surgery of unresectable pituitary tumors is a successful strategy for converting select radiosurgery-ineligible patients to radiosurgery candidates. Absence of preoperative SS, NE, and MF predicts for successful conversion.


Debulking surgery Radiosurgery Pituitary adenoma Optic chiasm 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryUC Neuroscience InstituteCincinnatiUSA

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