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Pituitary. 2009;12(1):3-10. doi: 10.1007/s11102-007-0078-y.

Radiotherapy and radiosurgery in acromegaly.

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Department of Endocrinology, La Timone Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille and Université de la Mediterranée, Marseille, France.


Growth-hormone hypersecretion, acromegaly, is associated with reduced life expectancy. First line treatment remains surgery, but remission rates vary between 50% and 90%. In case of lack of surgical remission or recurrence, somatostatin agonists can be proposed. However, about 30% of patients are partially or totally resistant to this treatment. The growth hormone receptor antagonist pegvisomant currently needs more prolonged follow-up studies. Conventional radiotherapy and radiosurgery are two radiation treatment modalities that can be proposed to these resistant patients. Reported rates of remission for conventional radiotherapy range between 50% and 60% in patients with acromegaly, with a time to remission delayed by several years, and adverse effects including high rates of hypopituitarism. This treatment could be proposed to patients with aggressive adenomas, in whom surgery cannot allow biochemical control. In contrast, studies on stereotactic radiosurgery reported lower rates of remission, with faster growth hormone hypersecretion decline, and a lower risk of adverse effects. However, this latter technique requires a well defined target volume, which limits its indications. The high precision of this technique makes it possible to be used as an alternative primary treatment to surgery. We reviewed major advantages and drawbacks of each of these techniques, based on recent studies to try to define their respective indications in the therapeutic algorithm of acromegaly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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