To evaluate the incidence and pattern of hypopituitarism from hypothalamic (HT) and pituitary gland (PG) damage following high-dose conformal fractionated proton-photon beam radiotherapy (PPRT) to the base of skull (BOS) region in adults. The relationship between dose, volume, and PG function is explored.Between May 1982 to October 1997, 107 adults with non-PG and non-HT neoplasms (predominantly chordoma and chondrosarcomas) of the BOS were treated with PPRT after subtotal resection(s). The median age was 41.2 years (range, 17-75) with 58 males and 49 females. Median prescribed target dose was 68.4 cobalt gray equivalent (CGE) (range, 55.8-79 CGE) at 1.80-1.92 CGE per fraction per day (where CGE = proton Gy x 1.1). The HT and PG were outlined on planning CT scans to allow dose-volume histograms (DVH) analysis. All patients had baseline and follow-up clinical testing of anterior and posterior pituitary function including biochemical assessment of thyroid, adrenal, and gonadal function, and prolactin secretion.The 10-year actuarial overall survival rate was 87%, with median endocrine follow-up time of 5.5 years, thus the majority of patients were available for long-term follow-up. Five-year actuarial rates of endocrinopathy were as follows: 72% for hyperprolactinemia, 30% for hypothyroidism, 29% for hypogonadism, and 19% for hypoadrenalism. The respective 10-year endocrinopathy rates were 84%, 63%, 36%, and 28%. No patient developed diabetes insipidus (vasopressin deficiency). Growth hormone deficiency was not routinely followed in this study. Minimum target dose (Dmin) to the PG was found to be predictive of endocrinopathy: patients receiving 50 CGE or greater at Dmin to the PG experiencing a higher incidence and severity (defined as the number of endocrinopathies occurring per patient) of endocrine dysfunction. Dmax of 70 CGE or greater to the PG and Dmax of 50 CGE or greater to the HT were also predictive of higher rates of endocrine dysfunction.Radiation-induced damage to the HT & PG occurs frequently after high-dose PPRT to the BOS and is manifested by anterior pituitary gland dysfunction. Hyperprolactinemia was detected in the majority of patients. Posterior pituitary dysfunction, represented by vasopressin activity with diabetes insipidus, was not observed in this dose range. Limiting the dose to the HT and PG when feasible should reduce the risk of developing clinical hypopituitarism.
View details for Web of Science ID 000167327200020
View details for PubMedID 11240250