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Jason P. Sheehan, Nader Pouratian, Ladislau Steiner, Edward R. Laws and Mary Lee Vance

Object

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is a common treatment for recurrent or residual pituitary adenomas. This study evaluates a large cohort of patients with a pituitary adenoma to characterize factors related to endocrine remission, control of tumor growth, and development of pituitary deficiency.

Methods

A total of 418 patients who underwent GKS with a minimum follow-up of 6 months (median 31 months) and for whom there was complete follow-up were evaluated. Statistical analysis was performed to evaluate for significant factors (p < 0.05) related to treatment outcomes.

Results

In patients with a secretory pituitary adenoma, the median time to endocrine remission was 48.9 months. The tumor margin radiation dose was inversely correlated with time to endocrine remission. Smaller adenoma volume correlated with improved endocrine remission in those with secretory adenomas. Cessation of pituitary suppressive medications at the time of GKS had a trend toward statistical significance in regard to influencing endocrine remission. In 90.3% of patients there was tumor control. A higher margin radiation dose significantly affected control of adenoma growth.

New onset of a pituitary hormone deficiency following GKS was seen in 24.4% of patients. Treatment with pituitary hormone suppressive medication at the time of GKS, a prior craniotomy, and larger adenoma volume at the time of radiosurgery were significantly related to loss of pituitary function.

Conclusions

Smaller adenoma volume improves the probability of endocrine remission and lowers the risk of new pituitary hormone deficiency with GKS. A higher margin dose offers a greater chance of endocrine remission and control of tumor growth.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010

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William J. Mauermann, Jason P. Sheehan, Daniel R. Chernavvsky, Edward R. Laws, Ladislau Steiner and Mary Lee Vance

Object

Patients with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)–secreting pituitary adenomas may require a bilateral adrenalectomy to treat their Cushing's disease. Approximately one third of these patients, however, will experience progressive enlargement of the residual pituitary adenoma, develop hyperpigmentation, and have an elevated level of serum ACTH. These patients with Nelson's syndrome can be treated with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS).

Methods

The prospectively collected University of Virginia Gamma Knife database of patients with pituitary adenomas was reviewed to identify all individuals with Nelson's syndrome who were treated with GKS. Twenty-three patients with a minimum of 6 months of follow up were identified in the database. These patients were assessed for tumor control (that is, lack of tumor growth over time) with neuroimaging studies (median follow-up duration 22 months) and for biochemical normalization of their ACTH levels (median follow-up duration 50 months). Neuroimaging follow-up studies were available for 22 patients, and endocrine follow up was available for 15 patients in whom elevation of ACTH levels was documented prior to GKS.

In the 22 patients in whom neuroimaging follow-up studies were available, 12 had a decrease in tumor size, eight had no tumor growth, and two had an increase in tumor volume. Ten of 15 patients with elevated ACTH levels prior to GKS showed a decrease in their ACTH levels at last follow up; three of these 10 patients achieved normal ACTH levels (< 50 pg/ml) and the other five patients with initially elevated values had an increase in ACTH levels.

Ten patients were thoroughly evaluated for post-GKS pituitary function; four were found to have new pituitary hormone deficiency and six did not have hypopituitarism after GKS. One patient suffered a permanent third cranial nerve palsy and four patients are now deceased.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery may control the residual pituitary adenoma and decrease ACTH levels in patients with Nelson's syndrome. Delayed hypopituitarism or cranial nerve palsies can occur after GKS. Patients with Nelson's syndrome require continued multidisciplinary follow-up care. Given the difficulties associated with management of Nelson's syndrome, even the modest results of GKS may be helpful for a number of patients.

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Martin H. Weiss and William T. Couldwell

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Jay Jagannathan, Jason P. Sheehan, Nader Pouratian, Edward R. Laws, Ladislau Steiner and Mary Lee Vance

Object

In this study the authors address the efficacy and safety of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) in patients with adrenocorticotropic hormone–secreting pituitary adenomas.

Methods

A review of data collected from a prospective GKS database between January 1990 and March 2005 was performed in patients with Cushing's disease. All but one patient underwent resection for a pituitary tumor, without achieving remission. Successful endocrine outcome after GKS was defined as a normal 24-hour urinary free cortisol (UFC) concentration posttreatment after a minimum of 1 year of follow up. Patient records were also evaluated for changes in tumor volume, development of new hormone deficiencies, visual acuity, cranial nerve neuropathies, and radiation-induced imaging changes. Ninety evaluable patients had undergone GKS, with a mean endocrine follow-up duration of 45 months (range 12–132 months). The mean dose to the tumor margin was 23 Gy (median 25 Gy).

Normal 24-hour UFC levels were achieved in 49 patients (54%), with an average time of 13 months after treatment (range 2–67 months). In the 49 patients in whom a tumor was visible on the planning magnetic resonance (MR) image, a decrease in tumor size occurred in 39 (80%), in seven patients there was no change in size, and tumor growth occurred in three patients. Ten patients (20%) experienced a relapse of Cushing's disease after initial remission; the mean time to recurrence was 27 months (range 6–60 months). Seven of these patients underwent repeated GKS, with three patients achieving a second remission. New hormone deficiencies developed in 20 patients (22%), with hypothyroidism being the most common endocrinopathy after GKS. Five patients experienced new visual deficits or third, fourth, or sixth cranial nerve deficits; two of these patients had undergone prior conventional fractionated radiation therapy, and four of them had received previous GKS. Radiation-induced changes were observed on MR images in three patients; one had symptoms attributable to these changes.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery is an effective treatment for persistent Cushing's disease. Adenomas with cavernous sinus invasion that are not amenable to resection are treatable with the Gamma Knife. A second GKS treatment appears to increase the risk of cranial nerve damage. These results demonstrate the value of combining two neurosurgical treatment modalities—microsurgical resection and GKS—in the management of pituitary adenomas.