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Diogo Cordeiro, Zhiyuan Xu, Gautam U. Mehta, Dale Ding, Mary Lee Vance, Hideyuki Kano, Nathaniel Sisterson, Huai-che Yang, Douglas Kondziolka, L. Dade Lunsford, David Mathieu, Gene H. Barnett, Veronica Chiang, John Lee, Penny Sneed, Yan-Hua Su, Cheng-chia Lee, Michal Krsek, Roman Liscak, Ahmed M. Nabeel, Amr El-Shehaby, Khaled Abdel Karim, Wael A. Reda, Nuria Martinez-Moreno, Roberto Martinez-Alvarez, Kevin Blas, Inga Grills, Kuei C. Lee, Mikulas Kosak, Christopher P. Cifarelli, Gennadiy A. Katsevman and Jason P. Sheehan


Recurrent or residual adenomas are frequently treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS). The most common complication after GKRS for pituitary adenomas is hypopituitarism. In the current study, the authors detail the timing and types of hypopituitarism in a multicenter, international cohort of pituitary adenoma patients treated with GKRS.


Seventeen institutions pooled clinical data obtained from pituitary adenoma patients who were treated with GKRS from 1988 to 2016. Patients who had undergone prior radiotherapy were excluded. A total of 1023 patients met the study inclusion criteria. The treated lesions included 410 nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs), 262 cases of Cushing’s disease (CD), and 251 cases of acromegaly. The median follow-up was 51 months (range 6–246 months). Statistical analysis was performed using a Cox proportional hazards model to evaluate factors associated with the development of new-onset hypopituitarism.


At last follow-up, 248 patients had developed new pituitary hormone deficiency (86 with NFPA, 66 with CD, and 96 with acromegaly). Among these patients, 150 (60.5%) had single and 98 (39.5%) had multiple hormone deficiencies. New hormonal changes included 82 cortisol (21.6%), 135 thyrotropin (35.6%), 92 gonadotropin (24.3%), 59 growth hormone (15.6%), and 11 vasopressin (2.9%) deficiencies. The actuarial 1-year, 3-year, 5-year, 7-year, and 10-year rates of hypopituitarism were 7.8%, 16.2%, 22.4%, 27.5%, and 31.3%, respectively. The median time to hypopituitarism onset was 39 months.

In univariate analyses, an increased rate of new-onset hypopituitarism was significantly associated with a lower isodose line (p = 0.006, HR = 8.695), whole sellar targeting (p = 0.033, HR = 1.452), and treatment of a functional pituitary adenoma as compared with an NFPA (p = 0.008, HR = 1.510). In multivariate analyses, only a lower isodose line was found to be an independent predictor of new-onset hypopituitarism (p = 0.001, HR = 1.38).


Hypopituitarism remains the most common unintended effect of GKRS for a pituitary adenoma. Treating the target volume at an isodose line of 50% or greater and avoiding whole-sellar radiosurgery, unless necessary, will likely mitigate the risk of post-GKRS hypopituitarism. Follow-up of these patients is required to detect and treat latent endocrinopathies.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Zhiyuan Xu, David J. Salvetti, Paul J. Schmitt and Mary Lee Vance


Cushing's disease is a challenging neuroendocrine disorder. Although resection remains the primary treatment option for most patients, the disease persists if there is residual or recurrent tumor. Stereotactic radiosurgery has been used to treat patients with persistent Cushing's disease after a prior resection. The authors report on the long-term risks and benefits of radiosurgery for Cushing's disease.


A retrospective review of a prospectively collected database of radiosurgery patients was undertaken at the University of Virginia. All patients with Cushing's disease treated with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) were identified. Those without at least 12 months of clinical and radiological follow-up were excluded from this analysis. Rates of endocrine remission, tumor control, and adverse events were assessed. Statistical methods were used to identify favorable and unfavorable prognostic factors.


Ninety-six patients with the required follow-up data were identified. The mean tumor margin dose was 22 Gy. The median follow-up was 48 months (range 12–209.8 months). At the last follow-up, remission of Cushing's disease occurred in 70% of patients. The median time to remission among all patients was 16.6 months (range 1–165.7 months). The median time to remission in those who had temporarily stopped taking ketoconazole at the time of GKS was 12.6 months, whereas it was 21.8 months in those who continued to receive ketoconazole (p < 0.012). Tumor control was achieved in 98% of patients. New loss of pituitary function occurred in 36% of patients. New or worsening cranial neuropathies developed in 5 patients after GKS, with the most common involving cranial nerves II and III.


Gamma Knife surgery offers a high rate of tumor control and a reasonable rate of endocrine remission in patients with Cushing's disease. The cessation of cortisol-lowering medications around the time of GKS appears to result in a more rapid rate of remission. Delayed hypopituitarism and endocrine recurrence develop in a minority of patients and underscore the need for long-term multidisciplinary follow-up.