Pituitary adenomas are more common than most people realize. They have been found at autopsy in from 1 to 25 percent of persons who were not suspected of having pituitary disease.1 About 40 percent of such silent tumors contain prolactin. The remainder are presumed to be nonsecreting, since tumors that secrete growth hormone, adrenocorticotropin, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) are likely to have been identified because of the clinical syndromes they produce. The distributions of types of tumors in patients undergoing surgery are somewhat different, because their tumors have caused some syndrome of hormone oversecretion or local effects, such as visual.
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