Radiation-induced hypopituitarism

Alberto Fernandez, Michael Brada, Lina Zabuliene, Niki Karavitaki, John A H Wass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


The hypothalamic-pituitary unit is a particularly radiosensitive region in the central nervous system. As a consequence, hypopituitarism commonly develops after radiation treatments for sellar and parasellar neoplasms, extrasellar brain tumours, head and neck tumours, and following whole body irradiation for systemic malignancies. Increasing tumour-related survival rates provide an expanding population at risk of developing hypopituitarism. In this population, long-term monitoring tailored to the individual risk profile is required to avoid the sequelae of untreated pituitary hormonal deficiencies and resultant decrease in the quality of life. This review analyses the pathogenesis, prevalence and consequences of radiation-induced hypopituitarism (RIH) in diverse subgroups at risk. Also discussed is the impact of modern radiotherapy techniques in the prevalence of RIH, the spectrum of endocrine disorders and radiation-induced brain conditions that also occur in patients with RIH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-72
Number of pages40
JournalEndocrine-related cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


  • Endocrine System Diseases
  • Humans
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System
  • Radiation Injuries
  • Radiotherapy
  • Radiotherapy Dosage


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