AffiliationDepartment of Endocrinology, Christie Hospital, Withington, Manchester, UK.
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AbstractExternal radiotherapy has been used as primary treatment for acromegaly in 29 patients and in combination with surgery in 41 patients in whom growth hormone levels remained elevated postoperatively. Fourteen further patients who did not receive radiotherapy have also been studied, four of whom had undergone surgical treatment. Radiotherapy schedules consisted of 20 Gy in eight fractions over 11 days (n = 23) or 35-40 Gy in 15 fractions over 21 days (n = 47). Growth hormone hypersecretion was either unchanged or increased with time in non-irradiated patients. In those patients who underwent radiotherapy, the likelihood of the mean GH level during GTT falling to less than 5 mU/l was unaffected by the total dose of radiation administered. However, patients with a pre-radiotherapy GH level of less than 30 mU/l showed a significantly increased probability of achieving a post- radiotherapy GH level less than 5 mU/l (P = 0.002). Previous surgery, initial serum prolactin and the age or sex of the patient did not predict the successful outcome of radiotherapy. In view of the known dose dependency of radiation-induced hypopituitarism, lower radiation dose schedules (20 Gy; eight fractions in 11 days) can be used in acromegaly with some benefit, especially in younger patients. However, all patients should undergo operative removal of as much GH-secreting tissue as possible, in order to lower GH levels and increase the probability of achieving a cure following radiotherapy.
CitationLow-dose pituitary irradiation for acromegaly. 1990, 32 (2):261-70 Clin Endocrinol
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