Adjuvant versus on-progression Gamma Knife radiosurgery for residual nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas: a matched-cohort analysis

J Neurosurg. 2022 Nov 18;1-7. doi: 10.3171/2022.10.JNS221873. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Radiological progression occurs in 50%-60% of residual nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs). Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a safe and effective management option for residual NFPAs, but there is no consensus on its optimal timing. This study aims to define the optimal timing of SRS for residual NFPAs.

Methods: This retrospective, multicenter study involved 375 patients with residual NFPAs managed with SRS. The patients were divided into adjuvant (ADJ; treated for stable residual NFPA within 6 months of resection) and progression (PRG) cohorts (treated for residual NFPA progression). Factors associated with tumor progression and clinical deterioration were analyzed.

Results: Following propensity-score matching, each cohort consisted of 130 patients. At last follow-up, tumor control was achieved in 93.1% of patients in the ADJ cohort and in 96.2% of patients in the PRG cohort (HR 1.6, 95% CI 0.55-4.9, p = 0.37). Hypopituitarism was associated with a maximum point dose of > 8 Gy to the pituitary stalk (HR 4.5, 95% CI 1.6-12.6, p = 0.004). No statistically significant difference was noted in crude new-onset hypopituitarism rates (risk difference [RD] = -0.8%, p > 0.99) or visual deficits (RD = -2.3%, p = 0.21) between the two cohorts at the last follow-up. The median time from resection to new hypopituitarism was longer in the PRG cohort (58.9 vs 29.7 months, p = 0.01).

Conclusions: SRS at residual NFPA progression does not appear to alter the probability of tumor control or hormonal/visual deficits compared with adjuvant SRS. Deferral of radiosurgical management to the time of radiological progression could significantly prolong the time to radiosurgically induced pituitary dysfunction. A lower maximum point dose (< 8 Gy) to the pituitary stalk portended a more favorable chance of preserving pituitary function after SRS.

Keywords: hypopituitarism; nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma; pituitary surgery; stereotactic radiosurgery.