Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKS) is typically used after failed resection in patients with Cushing’s disease (CD) and acromegaly. Little is known about the upfront role of GKS for patients with CD and acromegaly. In this study, the authors examine the outcome of upfront GKS for patients with these functioning adenomas.
An international group of 7 Gamma Knife centers sent pooled data from 46 patients (21 with CD and 25 with acromegaly) undergoing upfront GKS to the coordinating center of the study for analysis. Diagnosis was established on the basis of clinical, endocrine, and radiological studies. All patients were treated on a common radiosurgical platform and longitudinally followed for tumor control, endocrine remission, and hypopituitarism. Patients received a tumor median margin dose of 25 Gy (range 12–40.0 Gy) at a median isodose of 50%.
The median endocrine follow-up was 69.5 months (range 9–246 months). Endocrine remission was achieved in 51% of the entire cohort, with 28% remission in acromegaly and 81% remission for those with CD at the 5-year interval. Patients with CD achieved remission earlier as compared to those with acromegaly (p = 0.0005). In patients post-GKS, the pituitary adenoma remained stable (39%) or reduced (61%) in size. Hypopituitarism occurred in 9 patients (19.6%), and 1 (2.2%) developed third cranial nerve (CN III) palsy. Eight patients needed further intervention, including repeat GKS in 6 and transsphenoidal surgery in 2.
Upfront GKS resulted in good tumor control as well as a low rate of adverse radiation effects in the whole group. Patients with CD achieved a faster and far better remission rate after upfront GKS in comparison to patients with acromegaly. GKS can be considered as an upfront treatment in carefully selected patients with CD who are unwilling or unable to undergo resection, but it has a more limited role in acromegaly.