Hypothalamic-pituitary axis dysfunction after whole brain radiotherapy – A cohort study

Judith Gebauer, Preena Mehta, Fabian B. Fahlbusch, Sebastian M. Schmid, Dirk Rades, Stefan Janssen*

*Corresponding author for this work


Background/Aim: Hypothalamic-pituitary (HT-P) dysfunction is one of the most common endocrine late effects following cranial radiotherapy. However, there are currently no specific data describing this complication in adult-onset cancer patients after whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT). The present cohort study aims to establish the prevalence of HT-P axis dysfunction in this group of patients. Patients and Methods: Twenty-six cancer patients previously treated with WBRT (median follow-up=20.5 months) received standardized endocrine check-up focusing on HT-P function. Results: In 50% of the patients, impaired hypothalamic-pituitary function was detected during follow-up. While functional loss of a single hormonal axis was evident in 34.6% of patients, 7.7% showed an impairment of multiple endocrine axes, and one patient developed adrenocorticotropic hormone deficiency. Hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction did not directly correlate with the applied WBRT total doses. Conclusion: In our cohort, hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction appeared to be common after WBRT and was diagnosed as early as 6 months following radiation. This finding highlights the need for routine endocrine follow-up even in patients with limited life expectancy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)5787-5792
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2020


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