Acromegaly radiation therapy

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

No single treatment is effective for acromegaly. Treatment should be individualized depending on patient characteristics, such as age and tumor size. The first choice in the treatment of acromegaly is pharmacotherapy. If the tumor has not yet invaded surrounding brain tissues, removal of the pituitary adenoma by surgery is preferred. Radiation therapy is generally reserved for patients who do not respond adequately to surgery and medication. Radiation therapy has been used both as a primary treatment and combined with surgery or drugs. It is usually reserved for patients who have tumor remaining after surgery. Radiation therapy is given in divided doses over four to six weeks. This treatment lowers GH levels by about 50 percent over 2 to 5 years. Patients monitored for more than 5 years show significant further improvement.

Radiation Therapy

  • Radiation therapy has been used both as a primary treatment and combined with surgery or drugs.
  • Radiation therapy is usually reserved for patients who have tumor remaining after surgery.[1]
  • Radiation therapy is given in divided doses over four to six weeks.
  • Radiation therapy lowers GH levels by about 50 percent over 2 to 5 years.
  • Patients monitored for more than 5 years show significant further improvement.
  • Radiation therapy causes a gradual loss of production of other pituitary hormones with time.

Complications

  • Loss of vision and brain injury are very rare complications of radiation treatments.

References

  1. Becker G, Kocher M, Kortmann RD, Paulsen F, Jeremic B, Müller RP, Bamberg M (2002). "Radiation therapy in the multimodal treatment approach of pituitary adenoma". Strahlenther Onkol. 178 (4): 173–86. PMID 12040754. 

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