Study shows multiple-dose, targeted radiation more effective for treating pituitary tumors

December 16, 2015

A recent patient study at Houston Methodist Hospital proved that multiple small doses of highly focused radiation therapy is safer and more effective than a single larger dose of radiation at destroying pituitary gland tumors.

The findings on the use of fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT) are in the online issue of Neurosurgery.

The pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain, is known as the "master gland" because the hormones it secretes control the functions of many endocrine glands (such as the thyroid and the adrenals). While pituitary adenomas are slow-growing and usually benign, the growth causes the pituitary to produce excess hormones or block hormone production altogether. This can disrupt the regulation of critical body functions, including heart function, blood pressure, glucose regulation, fertility and sexual function, and metabolism.

"Even using pinpoint techniques, a single dose of radiation may not be enough to kill the residual tumor," said David S. Baskin, M.D., vice chair of the department of neurosurgery at Houston Methodist Hospital and corresponding author on the Neurosurgery paper. "Our radiation oncologists strategized on using fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy as the best way to kill these slow growing masses."

FSRT is a treatment given in multiple small doses over a period of time. Considered a variation of the traditional stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), FSRT can treat the pituitary adenomas more aggressively than a single dose and with less complications than SRS.

The Houston Methodist study not only supported this, Baskin said, but demonstrated that FSRT actually beat both SRT and conventional radiotherapy at long-term effectiveness.

Surgery is the primary treatment for pituitary adenomas, followed by radiation therapy, but too much radiation can affect the optic system and damage vision.

"We treated and followed 75 patients who underwent FSRT for a residual pituitary adenoma between 2004 and 2013," said Bin Teh, M.D., vice chair of Houston Methodist's Department of Radiation Oncology and co-author on the Neurosurgery paper. "None of them experienced any tumor recurrence during our monitoring period and nearly 70 percent of those with hormonal imbalances caused by the adenomas returned to normal levels."

Further studies will investigate the long-term (10 years or greater) safety and efficacy of FSRT in larger groups of patients.

"We also plan to conduct prospective research that will evaluate FSRT and SRT so that the benefits and limitations of both therapies in treating pituitary adenomas can be directly compared," said Baskin, director of the Kenneth R. Peak Brain and Pituitary Tumor Center at Houston Methodist Hospital.
-end-
Houston Methodist's Sean M. Barber, M.D., also contributed to the Neurosurgery paper.

To speak with David S. Baskin, M.D., or Bin Teh, M.D., contact Katie Wooldridge, Houston Methodist, at 713.816.2215 or kjwooldridge@houstonmethodist.org. For more information about Houston Methodist, visit houstonmethodist.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit our blog.

S.M. Barber, B.S. Teh and D.S. Baskin. Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy for Pituitary Adenomas: Single-Center Experience with the Brain:LAB Novalis System. Journal of Neurosurgery, DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000001155 (Online Dec. 11, 2015)

Houston Methodist

Related Radiation Therapy Articles from Brightsurf:

Pulmonary artery thrombosis a complication of radiation therapy
According to ARRS' American Journal of Roentgenology, the imaging findings of in situ pulmonary artery thrombosis (PAT) associated with radiation therapy (RT) are different from those of acute pulmonary emboli and do not appear to embolize.

New approach for calculating radiation dosimetry allows for individualized therapy
Researchers have developed a simplified process that could enhance personalization of cancer therapy based on a single nuclear medicine scan.

Developing microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) for inoperable cancer
An innovative radiation treatment that could one day be a valuable addition to conventional radiation therapy for inoperable brain and spinal tumors is a step closer, thanks to new research led by University of Saskatchewan (USask) researchers at the Canadian Light Source (CLS).

Travel considerations specified for 177Lu-DOTATATE radiation therapy patients
Researchers and patient advocates have addressed the challenges related to traveling after receiving 177Lu-DOTATATE radiation therapy in a study published in the April issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

A new way to monitor cancer radiation therapy doses
More than half of all cancer patients undergo radiation therapy and the dose is critical.

AI can jump-start radiation therapy for cancer patients
Artificial intelligence can help cancer patients start their radiation therapy sooner -- and thereby decrease the odds of the cancer spreading -- by instantly translating complex clinical data into an optimal plan of attack.

Towards safer, more effective cancer radiation therapy using X-rays and nanoparticles
X-rays could be tuned to deliver a more effective punch that destroys cancer cells and not harm the body.

Radiation therapy effective against deadly heart rhythm
A single high dose of radiation aimed at the heart significantly reduces episodes of a potentially deadly rapid heart rhythm, according to results of a phase one/two study at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

New mathematical model can improve radiation therapy of brain tumours
Researchers have developed a new model to optimize radiation therapy and significantly increase the number of tumor cells killed during treatment.

Using artificial intelligence to deliver personalized radiation therapy
New Cleveland Clinic-led research shows that artificial intelligence (AI) can use medical scans and health records to personalize the dose of radiation therapy used to treat cancer patients.

Read More: Radiation Therapy News and Radiation Therapy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.