Object. The purpose of this study was to estimate the efficacy of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) in controlling tumor growth and endocrinopathy associated with prolactinomas.
Methods. Between 1993 and 1997, 164 of 469 patients with pituitary adenomas treated by GKS harbored prolactinomas. The dose to the tumor margin ranged from 9 to 35 Gy (mean 31.2 Gy), and the visual pathways were exposed to a dose of less than 10 Gy. The mean tumor diameter was 13.4 mm. The mean follow-up time for 128 cases was 33.2 months (range 6–72 months). Tumor control was observed in all but two patients who underwent surgery 18 and 36 months, respectively, after GKS. Clinical cure was achieved in 67 cases.
Clinical improvement was noted with a decrease in the hyperprolactinemia after GKS. Nonetheless, in 31 (29%) of 108 patients who were followed for more than 2 years no improvement in serum prolactin levels was demonstrated, although this could be normalized by bromocriptine administration after treatment. Nine infertile women became pregnant 2 to 13 months after GKS and all gave birth to normal children.
There was no visual deterioration related to GKS. Five women experienced premature menopause. In these patients there was subtotal disappearance of the tumor and an empty sella developed.
Conclusions. Gamma knife radiosurgery as a primary treatment for prolactinomas can be safe and effective both for controlling tumor growth and for normalization of prolactin hypersecretion. A higher margin dose (≥ 30 Gy) seemed to be associated with a better clinical outcome. Gamma knife radiosurgery may make prolactinomas more sensitive to the bromocriptine.