Long-term effects of radiotherapy for acromegaly on circulating prolactin

Salvatore Maria Corsello, E Ciccarelli, Pn Plowman, Ae Jones, R Touzel, Lh Rees, Gm Besser, Ja Wass

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19 Citations (Scopus)


In 61 acromegalic patients, serum PRL was assessed (off medical treatment) before and 2 to 12 (mean 6.4) years after external beam radiotherapy. Before radiotherapy elevated PRL levels were present in 22 of 35 males (63%) and 12 of 26 females (46%) and were above 1000 mU/l in 11 males and 5 females. When studied for up to 5 years after radiotherapy, 22 of 23 (96%) patients who had not had surgery and who had normal PRL pre-radiotherapy showed an increased PRL level and this was also seen in 17 of 27 (63%) who had been hyperprolactinaemic initially. In contrast, 10 of 27 patients (37%) who had elevated pre-radiotherapy levels (all greater than 1000 mU/l) had a reduction in PRL values after radiotherapy. In all 11 patients who underwent surgery before radiotherapy, an increase in PRL was seen after radiotherapy. In the 21 patients followed for 10-12 years, the peak PRL value occurred 1-6 years after radiotherapy. After this, a progressive reduction of PRL to normal was seen. Normal levels were reached 4 to 10 years after radiotherapy. No correlation was found between pretreatment PRL values and final GH values in the whole group, nor between changes in PRL and the development of impaired ACTH or TSH secretion. Thus, different patterns of PRL behaviour suggest that radiotherapy treatment may either produce hyperprolactinemia from mild hypothalamic damage or ablate PRL secreting cells if they were present in the tumour before treatment. These changes do not predict final GH results or the development of hypopituitarism after radiotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-832
Number of pages6
JournalActa Endocrinologica
Publication statusPublished - 1989


  • Acromegaly
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone
  • Humans
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Hypothalamus
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prolactin
  • Time Factors


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