Approach to the incidentally discovered pituitary mass.

M. E. Molitch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Incidental pituitary adenomas are being found commonly with our improved neuroradiologic imaging procedures. Screening for hormone oversecretion by these tumors appears to be warranted. For patients with macroadenomas, patients should also be screened for hypopituitarism. In the absence of visual-field abnormalities or hypothalamic/stalk compression, it may be appropriate to observe such patients carefully with repeated MRI scans. A limited amount of data suggest that significant tumor enlargement will occur in < 5% of patients with microadenomas [8,11]. However, all macroadenomas must start out as microadenomas, and so periodic follow-up is indicated to assess for this possibility. Macroadenomas, by their very existence at the time of detection, have already indicated a propensity for growth. Over the limited period of follow-up in the two series reported, significant growth occurred in just over one quarter of the patients with macroadenomas [8,11]. Hemorrhage into such tumors is uncommon, but anticoagulation may predispose to this complication. When there is no evidence of visual-field deficits, an attempt at medical therapy with a dopamine agonist or octreotide is reasonable, realizing that only about 10% of such patients will respond with a decrease in tumor size. Surgery is indicated if there is evidence of tumor enlargement, especially when such growth is accompanied by compression of the optic chiasm, cavernous sinus invasion, or the development of pituitary hormone deficiencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-90
Number of pages18
JournalCancer treatment and research
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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