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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.

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Vincenzo Mingione, Chun Po Yen, Mary Lee Vance, Melita Steiner, Jason Sheehan, Edward R. Laws and Ladislau Steiner

Object

The authors report on a retrospective analysis of the imaging and clinical outcomes following gamma surgery in 100 patients with nonsecretory pituitary macroadenoma.

Methods

Between June 1989 and March 2004, 100 consecutive patients with nonsecretory pituitary macroadenoma were treated at the Lars Leksell Center for Gamma Surgery, University of Virginia Health System (Charlottesville, VA). Ninety-two patients had residual or recurrent macroadenoma following one or more surgical procedures. In eight patients, gamma surgery was the primary treatment. Ten patients received conventional fractionated radiotherapy before the gamma surgery. Sixty-nine patients required hormone replacement therapy for one or more deficits before gamma knife treatment. Peripheral doses between 5 and 25 Gy (mean 18.5 Gy) were administered.

Imaging and endocrinological follow-up evaluations were performed in 90 patients; these studies ranged from 6 to 142 months (mean 44.9 months) and 6 to 127 months (mean 47.9 months), respectively. Tumor volume decreased in 59 patients (65.6%), remained unchanged in 24 (26.7%), and increased in seven (7.8%). The minimal effective peripheral dose was 12 Gy; peripheral doses greater than 20 Gy did not seem to provide additional benefit. Of 61 patients with a partially or fully functioning pituitary gland and follow-up data, 12 (19.7%) suffered new hormone deficits following gamma surgery. In patients with endocrinological follow-up data that had been collected over more than 2 years, the rate of new deficits was 25%. No neurological morbidity or death was related to treatment.

Conclusions

Current experience suggests that gamma surgery is an appropriate means of managing recurrent or residual nonsecretory pituitary macroadenoma following microsurgery and a primary treatment in selected patients. To evaluate definite rates of recurrence and new endocrine deficiencies, long-term follow-up studies are needed.