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Gamma Knife Radiation Therapy for Pituitary Tumors - Results of Gamma Knife Treatment

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Gamma Knife radiation has been used to treat all types of pituitary tumors and other types of tumors in the pituitary area. At the University of Virginia during the past 8 years, over 270 patients with pituitary tumors have been treated. Results of treatment vary according to the type of tumor treated and the method used to plan the radiation field and dose. One fact about all types of secretory tumors is that complete control of hormone overproduction does not occur immediately. Control of hormone overproduction may take several months to two or three years or more. Additionally, some patients develop new pituitary hormone deficiency requiring hormone replacement. In comparing the results of conventional, fractionated radiation (usually a daily treatment over 4 to 5 weeks) with Gamma Knife treatment, preliminary results indicate that patients with Acromegaly and Cushing's disease achieve normal hormone levels sooner than patients given conventional, fractionated radiation. Our results in patients with a prolactinoma and Nelson's syndrome are less favorable as are those of other investigators and the reasons for this are not clear. In patients with non-secretory tumors, shrinkage of residual tumor or control of tumor size has been observed in the large majority of patients. There are no studies comparing the results of Gamma Knife radiation with other methods of focused radiation (proton beam, LINEAC therapy).