Results of surgery and irradiation or irradiation alone for pituitary adenomas

Perry W. Grigsby, Joseph R. Simpson, Steven Stokes, James E. Marks, Barbara Fineberg

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29 Scopus citations


A retrospective analysis was performed on the clinical course of all patients with pituitary adenomas treated at the Radiation Oncology Center, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University Medical Center, St. Louis, Missouri. Of 212 patients treated from April 1954 through December 1982, 70 were treated with radiotherapy alone (XRT), 121 began immediate post-operative XRT (2–6 weeks) and 20 received XRT following surgical failure. Several sub-groups of adenomas were identified and analyzed, including secreting versus non-secreting adenomas (33.0% secreting) and by clinical syndrome; 27% with amenorrhea/galactorrhea, 18.4% acromegalic, Cushing's disease in 6.1% and 3.3% with Nelson's syndrome. The median follow-up time from the data of diagnosis for those patients alive at the time of last follow-up was 11.9 years (range 3.0 to 30.0 years). Actuarial overall and disease-free survival was analyzed up to 25 years. The 10-year overall and disease-free survival was 77.8 and 75.3% for those patients treated with XRT alone, 86.4 and 87.2% for those treated with immediate post-operative XRT and 100.0 and 87.5% for those who were irradiated after surgical failure. Complications related directly to XRT occurred in only five patients. One patient had documented central nervous system radionecrosis, two had visual complications, and tumor necrosis with hemorrhage occurred in the other two patients. In conclusion, overall survival for all patients did not significantly differ from an age, sex and race matched population. Control of local disease was greater for those patients receiving surgery and post-operative XRT than for those receiving XRT only. XRT salvage of surgical failures was possible. Treatment with XRT results in a low complication rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1988


  • pituitary adenomas
  • radiation therapy
  • surgery


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