Pituitary hormone dysfunction after proton beam radiation therapy in children with brain tumors

Vidhya Viswanathan, Kamnesh Pradhan, Erica Eugster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Objective: To characterize endocrine dysfunction in pediatric patients with brain tumors who received proton beam (PB) radiation therapy and to compare those treated with PB radiotherapy only versus combined conventional and PB irradiation. Methods: A retrospective review of medical records of patients 18 years of age who received PB radiation therapy for a brain tumor between 2000 and 2008 was performed. Variables analyzed included patient demographics, tumor type, therapeutic modalities, radiation doses, and types and timing of endocrine dysfunction.Results: Thirty-eight patients were identified, of whom 31 (19 boys and 12 girls; mean age, 11.9 ± 3.3 years) had undergone endocrine evaluation. Of these patients, 19 received PB radiotherapy only and 12 received conventional plus PB irradiation. Before irradiation, a cranial surgical procedure was performed in 28 study subjects, and 22 received chemotherapy. The mean duration of follow-up after radiation therapy was 1.8 ± 0.8 years. Nine patients (47%) in the PB only group and 4 (33%) in the conventional plus PB group developed endocrine dysfunction (no significant difference) after cranial irradiation. Children with endocrine sequelae treated with PB irradiation alone received fewer cobalt gray equivalents than those treated with conventional plus PB irradiation (5,384 ± 268 versus 5,775 ± 226, respectively; P<.02), and pituitary hormone deficiencies were detected later during follow-up in those who received PB radiotherapy only versus conventional plus PB irradiation (1.17 ± 0.4 years versus 0.33 ± 0.11 year, respectively; P<.01). Conclusion: A high rate of endocrine sequelae was seen in our study. Children with brain tumors treated with conventional plus PB irradiation developed endocrine dysfunction faster and received a higher radiation dose than those receiving PB radiotherapy only. Prior surgical treatment and chemotherapy were additional risk factors. Large prospective studies are needed to evaluate further the incidence of endocrine sequelae after PB irradiation in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-896
Number of pages6
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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