Pituitary adenomas are benign tumors that arise from the cells of the anterior pituitary gland. Primary treatment is usually surgery or pharmacologic treatment. When initial treatment with these interventions fails, or when there is a recurrence, radiation therapy should be considered.
Current radiation therapy employs more sophisticated imaging and targeting techniques than were previously available, but most published papers, which are based on retrospective series, report results using older techniques. The newer techniques offer the promise of reducing the incidence and severity of side effects. The relatively long time required for control of hormonal hypersecretion and the subsequent development of hypopituitarism have limited more widespread use of radiation therapy.
TYPES OF RADIATION THERAPY
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) — Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is the delivery of a single high dose of radiation therapy using a high precision localization system to treat a small target. It is most effective and safe when treating small sizes and when able to aim very accurately so that safety margins can be minimized and the total target size is as small as possible.
Fractionated radiation therapy — Fractionated radiation therapy is the delivery of radiation therapy in multiple small daily doses, usually five days a week for five to six weeks. This is the most common way radiation therapy is delivered for most other indications of radiation treatment.