The effect of external pituitary irradiation on elevated serum prolactin levels in patients with pituitary macroadenomas.
AffiliationDepartment of Endocrinology, Christie Hospital, Withington, Manchester.
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AbstractThe response of serum prolactin to external radiotherapy was studied in 58 patients (32 women) with pituitary tumours, aged between 16 and 75 years. Forty-four patients underwent pituitary surgery before radiotherapy. Six patients were irradiated with a regimen of 20 Gy in eight fractions over 10-11 days and the remainder received 35-42.5 Gy in 15 fractions over 20-22 days. Following radiotherapy, 44 patients received additional treatment with dopaminergic agonists. Prolactin levels ranged from 1078 to 491,000 mU/l (median 11,750 mU/l) before radiotherapy and all but three patients showed a fall in serum prolactin (measured 4 weeks after stopping bromocriptine in those on dopamine agonist therapy) during observation over periods of up to 154 months. All patients had evidence of pituitary fossa erosion or expansion at presentation and large tumours (Hardy-Vezina Grade 3-4) were more common in male patients (chi 2 = 10.08, p less than 0.01). The rate of fall of serum prolactin levels was greater in patients with true prolactin-secreting tumours when compared with those who had stalk or hypothalamic damage (p less than 0.005). The rate of decline of serum prolactin was also significantly related to the pre-radiotherapy value (rho = 0.519, p less than 0.01). A serum prolactin level less than 500 mU/l was achieved in 31 out of 44 patients treated with radiotherapy and dopaminergic agonist but only nine remained normoprolactinaemic when medication was discontinued for 4 weeks or more. The serum prolactin level fell permanently to less than 500 mU/l in two of 14 patients treated with radiotherapy only. Actuarial analysis of data from all patients indicated a 50 per cent probability that prolactin would be reduced to less than 500 mU/l by 10 years; this increased to 58 per cent for patients with smaller tumours (Hardy-Vezina grade 2).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
CitationThe effect of external pituitary irradiation on elevated serum prolactin levels in patients with pituitary macroadenomas. 1991, 81 (296):985-98 Q. J. Med.
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Medicine