Conventional Radiotherapy and Pituitary Tumors

  • Bahman Emami


Most of the tumors that originate in the hypophyseal region are histologically benign, but because of the effects they exert on endocrine function and surrounding structures, they present particular therapeutic challenges. Both surgical and radiotherapeutic approaches date back to the beginning of this century. Schloffer1 performed the first transsphenoidal procedure in 1906, and in the same year Horsley2 reported on the intracranial approach to this tumor. Radiotherapy of pituitary tumors was pioneered in 1907 by Gra-megna,3 who treated a 45-year-old acromegalic female, utilizing an intraoral glass applicator and an early Crooks tube with voltage in the range of 80 kV. Temporary improvement of visual fields was achieved with disappearance of headaches. In the same year, Béclère4 reported the successful radiotherapeutic management of a 16-year-old female with gigantism. He used 100 kV, delivered via a five-treatment-field technique, a technique that is still being used in modified form by many radiotherapists. His patient was alive and well 15 years later.5 Subsequent reports by Williams,6 Calamet,7 Loeb,8 and others established the role of radiotherapy in the treatment of pituitary tumors. In pioneering studies, Quick9 and Hirsch10 implanted radon capsules into the sphenoid via the transnasal route for the treatment of pituitary tumors by brachytherapy (the introduction of radioactive sources directly within and around the tumor).


Pituitary Adenoma Pituitary Tumor Prolactin Level Conventional Radiotherapy Sella Turcica 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bahman Emami
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Tufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Therapeutic RadiologyTufts-New England Medical Center HospitalBostonUSA

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