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Mike Lin Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales, Australia

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Venessa Tsang Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Genetics Unit, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales, Australia
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Janice Brewer Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales, Australia

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Roderick Clifton-Bligh Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Genetics Unit, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales, Australia
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Matti L Gild Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Genetics Unit, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales, Australia
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

Lymphocytic hypophysitis is a rare neuroendocrine disease characterised by an autoimmune inflammatory disorder of the pituitary gland. We report a 50-year-old woman who presented with headaches and bilateral sixth cranial nerve palsies. MRI of the pituitary revealed extensive fibrosis involving the sellar and extending into both cavernous sinuses causing bilateral occlusion of the internal carotid arteries (ICA). Transphenoidal biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of infiltrative fibrotic lymphocytic hypophysitis. Symptoms resolved with high dose of oral steroids but relapsed on tapering, requiring several treatments of i.v. pulse steroids over 8 months. Rituximab combined with mycophenolate mofetil was required to achieve long-term symptom relief. Serial MRI pituitary imaging showed stabilisation of her disease without reduction in sellar mass or regression of ICA occlusion. The patient’s brain remained perfused solely by her posterior circulation. This case demonstrates an unusual presentation of a rare disease and highlights a successful steroid-sparing regimen in a refractory setting.

Learning points:

  • Lymphocytic hypophysitis is a rare inflammatory disorder of the pituitary gland. In exceptional cases, there is infiltration of the cavernous sinus with subsequent occlusion of the internal carotid arteries.

  • First-line treatment of lymphocytic hypophysitis is high-dose glucocorticoids. Relapse after tapering or discontinuation is common and its use is limited by long-term adverse effects.

  • There is a paucity of data for treatment of refractory lymphocytic hypophysitis. Goals of treatment should include improvement in symptoms, correction of hormonal insufficiencies, reduction in lesion size and prevention of recurrence.

  • Steroid-sparing immunosuppressive drugs such as rituximab and mycophenolate mofetil have been successful in case reports. This therapeutic combination represents a viable alternative treatment for refractory disease.

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Sharmin Jahan Department of Endocrinology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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M A Hasanat Department of Endocrinology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Tahseen Mahmood Department of Endocrinology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Shahed Morshed Department of Endocrinology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Raziul Haq Department of Neurosurgery, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Md Fariduddin Department of Endocrinology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Summary

Silent corticotroph adenoma (SCA) is an unusual type of nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma (NFA) that is silent both clinically and biochemically and can only be recognized by positive immunostaining for ACTH. Under rare circumstances, it can transform into hormonally active disease presenting with severe Cushing syndrome. It might often produce diagnostic dilemma with difficult management issue if not thoroughly investigated and subtyped accordingly following surgery. Here, we present a 21-year-old male who initially underwent pituitary adenomectomy for presumed NFA with compressive symptoms. However, he developed recurrent and invasive macroadenoma with severe clinical as well as biochemical hypercortisolism during post-surgical follow-up. Repeat pituitary surgery was carried out urgently as there was significant optic chiasmal compression. Immunohistochemical analysis of the tumor tissue obtained on repeat surgery proved it to be an aggressive corticotroph adenoma. Though not cured, he showed marked clinical and biochemical improvement in the immediate postoperative period. Anticipating recurrence from the residual tumor, we referred him for cyber knife radio surgery.

Learning points:

  • Pituitary NFA commonly present with compressive symptoms such as headache and blurred vision.

  • Post-surgical development of Cushing syndrome in such a case could be either drug induced or endogenous.

  • In the presence of recurrent pituitary tumor, ACTH-dependent Cushing syndrome indicates CD.

  • Rarely a SCA presenting initially as NFA can transform into an active corticotroph adenoma.

  • Immunohistochemical marker for ACTH in the resected tumor confirms the diagnosis.

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Ellena Cotton Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, Manchester, UK
Specialist Medicine, Manchester University Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK

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David Ray Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

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Summary

A young woman carrying germline DICER1 mutation was discovered to have a pituitary microprolactinoma when she became amenorrhoic. The mutation was identified as a result of family screening following the early death of the patient’s daughter with ovarian cancer. The patient was in follow-up screening for thyroid disease, and investigations were initiated when she became amenorrhoic. MR scan revealed a 6 mm diameter pituitary microadenoma and raised prolactin. The prolactin was efficiently suppressed with low-dose cabergoline, and her menstrual cycles resumed. Dicer is an RNase enzyme, which is essential for processing small non-coding RNAs. These molecules play pleiotropic roles in regulating gene expression, by targeting mRNA sequences for degradation. DICER1 plays different roles depending on cell context, but is thought to be a functional tumour suppressor gene. Accordingly, germline mutation in one DICER1 allele is insufficient for oncogenesis, and a second hit on the other allele is required, as a result of postnatal somatic mutation. Loss of DICER1 is linked to multiple tumours, with prominent endocrine representation. Multinodular goitre is frequent, with increased risk of differentiated thyroid cancer. Rare, developmental pituitary tumours are reported, including pituitary blastoma, but not reports of functional pituitary adenomas. As DICER1 mutations are rare, case reports are the only means to identify new manifestations and to inform appropriate screening protocols.

Learning points:

  • DICER1 mutations lead to endocrine tumours.

  • DICER1 is required for small non-coding RNA expression.

  • DICER1 carriage and microprolactinoma are both rare, but here are reported in the same individual, suggesting association.

  • Endocrine follow-up of patients carrying DICER1 mutations should consider pituitary disease.

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Wael M Almistehi Obesity, Endocrine, and Metabolism Center, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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Mussa H Almalki Obesity, Endocrine, and Metabolism Center, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
King Fahad Medical City, College of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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Summary

Giant prolactinomas are a rare entity; during pregnancy, the risk for complications associated with these tumors is higher. Here, we report a case of a young woman who had an invasive, giant prolactinoma post resection with residual disease who became pregnant. This patient was treated with cabergoline to prevent tumor expansion in pregnancy, resulting in the uneventful delivery of a healthy baby boy.

Learning points:

  • Giant prolactinoma can cause both diagnostic and therapeutic challenges given their atypical presentation.

  • Accurate diagnosis is paramount to avoid unnecessary surgical intervention or pituitary irradiation.

  • This case demonstrates the effectiveness and safety of CAB therapy during pregnancy.

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Michelle Maher Endocrinology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

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Federico Roncaroli University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

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Nigel Mendoza Endocrinology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Karim Meeran Endocrinology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Natalie Canham Liverpool Womens NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK

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Monika Kosicka-Slawinska London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Birgitta Bernhard London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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David Collier The William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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Juliana Drummond The William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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Kassiani Skordilis University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK

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Nicola Tufton The Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, London UK

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Anastasia Gontsarova Endocrinology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Niamh Martin Endocrinology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Márta Korbonits The William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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Florian Wernig Endocrinology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Summary

Symptomatic pituitary adenomas occur with a prevalence of approximately 0.1% in the general population. It is estimated that 5% of pituitary adenomas occur in a familial setting, either in isolated or syndromic form. Recently, loss-of-function mutations in genes encoding succinate dehydrogenase subunits (SDHx) or MYC-associated factor X (MAX) have been found to predispose to pituitary adenomas in co-existence with paragangliomas or phaeochromocytomas. It is rare, however, for a familial SDHx mutation to manifest as an isolated pituitary adenoma. We present the case of a pituitary lactotroph adenoma in a patient with a heterozygous germline SDHB mutation, in the absence of concomitant neoplasms. Initially, the adenoma showed biochemical response but poor tumour shrinkage in response to cabergoline; therefore, transsphenoidal surgery was performed. Following initial clinical improvement, tumour recurrence was identified 15 months later. Interestingly, re-initiation of cabergoline proved successful and the lesion demonstrated both biochemical response and tumour shrinkage. Our patient’s SDHB mutation was identified when we realised that her father had a metastatic paraganglioma, prompting genetic testing. Re-inspection of the histopathological report of the prolactinoma confirmed cells with vacuolated cytoplasm. This histological feature is suggestive of an SDHx mutation and should prompt further screening for mutations by immunohistochemistry and/or genetic testing. Surprisingly, immunohistochemistry of this pituitary adenoma demonstrated normal SDHB expression, despite loss of SDHB expression in the patient’s father’s paraganglioma.

Learning points:

  • Pituitary adenomas may be the presenting and/or sole feature of SDHB mutation-related disease.

  • SDHx mutated pituitary adenomas may display clinically aggressive behaviour and demonstrate variable response to medical treatment.

  • Histological evidence of intracytoplasmic vacuoles in a pituitary adenoma might suggest an SDH-deficient tumour and should prompt further screening for SDHx mutations.

  • Immunohistochemistry may not always predict the presence of SDHx mutations.

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Marlene Tarvainen School of Medicine, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

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Satu Mäkelä School of Medicine, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
Department of Internal Medicine, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland

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Jukka Mustonen School of Medicine, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
Department of Internal Medicine, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland

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Pia Jaatinen School of Medicine, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
Department of Internal Medicine, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
Division of Internal Medicine, Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Seinäjoki, Finland

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Summary

Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) infection causes nephropathia epidemica (NE), a relatively mild form of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). Hypophyseal haemorrhage and hypopituitarism have been described in case reports on patients with acute NE. Chronic hypopituitarism diagnosed months or years after the acute illness has also been reported, without any signs of a haemorrhagic aetiology. The mechanisms leading to the late-onset hormonal defects remain unknown. Here, we present a case of NE-associated autoimmune polyendocrinopathy and hypopituitarism presumably due to autoimmune hypophysitis. Thyroid peroxidase antibody seroconversion occurred between 6 and 12 months, and ovarian as well as glutamate decarboxylase antibodies were found 18 months after acute NE. Brain MRI revealed an atrophic adenohypophysis with a heterogeneous, low signal intensity compatible with a sequela of hypophysitis. The patient developed central (or mixed central and peripheral) hypothyroidism, hypogonadism and diabetes insipidus, all requiring hormonal replacement therapy. This case report suggests that late-onset hormonal defects after PUUV infection may develop by an autoimmune mechanism. This hypothesis needs to be confirmed by prospective studies with sufficient numbers of patients.

Learning points:

  • Pituitary haemorrhage resulting in hypopituitarism has been reported during acute HFRS caused by PUUV and other hantaviruses.

  • Central and peripheral hormone deficiencies developing months or years after HFRS have also been found, with an incidence higher than that in the general population. The pathogenesis of these late-onset hormonal defects remains unknown.

  • This case report suggests that the late-onset hypopituitarism and peripheral endocrine defects after HFRS could evolve via autoimmune mechanisms.

  • The sensitivity of current anti-pituitary antibody (APA) tests is low. A characteristic clinical course, together with typical brain MRI and endocrine findings may be sufficient for a non-invasive diagnosis of autoimmune hypophysitis, despite negative APAs.

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Derick Adams Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

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Philip A Kern Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

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Summary

Pituitary abscess is a relatively uncommon cause of pituitary hormone deficiencies and/or a suprasellar mass. Risk factors for pituitary abscess include prior surgery, irradiation and/or pathology of the suprasellar region as well as underlying infections. We present the case of a 22-year-old female presenting with a spontaneous pituitary abscess in the absence of risk factors described previously. Her initial presentation included headache, bitemporal hemianopia, polyuria, polydipsia and amenorrhoea. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of her pituitary showed a suprasellar mass. As the patient did not have any risk factors for pituitary abscess or symptoms of infection, the diagnosis was not suspected preoperatively. She underwent transsphenoidal resection and purulent material was seen intraoperatively. Culture of the surgical specimen showed two species of alpha hemolytic Streptococcus, Staphylococcus capitis and Prevotella melaninogenica. Urine and blood cultures, dental radiographs and transthoracic echocardiogram failed to show any source of infection that could have caused the pituitary abscess. The patient was treated with 6weeks of oral metronidazole and intravenous vancomycin. After 6weeks of transsphenoidal resection and just after completion of antibiotic therapy, her headache and bitemporal hemianopsia resolved. However, nocturia and polydipsia from central diabetes insipidus and amenorrhoea from hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism persisted.

Learning points

  • Pituitary abscesses typically develop in patients who have other sources of infection or disruption of the normal suprasellar anatomy by either surgery, irradiation or pre-existing pathology; however, they can develop in the absence of known risk factors.

  • Patients with pituitary abscesses typically complain of headache, visual changes and symptoms of pituitary hormone deficiencies.

  • As other pituitary neoplasms present with similar clinical findings, the diagnosis of pituitary abscess is often not suspected until transsphenoidal resection is performed.

  • Prompt surgical and medical treatment of pituitary abscess is necessary, which typically results in improvement in headache and visual changes; however, pituitary hormone deficiencies are typically often permanent.

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Nicole Maison Endocrine Research Unit, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Klinikum der Universität München, Munich, Germany

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Esther Korpershoek Department of Pathology, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Graeme Eisenhofer Department of Medicine III, Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany

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Mercedes Robledo Hereditary Endocrine Cancer Group, Human Cancer Genetics Programme, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) and ISCIII Center for Biomedical Research on Rare Diseases (CIBERER), Madrid, Spain

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Ronald de Krijger Department of Pathology, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Department of Pathology, Reinier de Graaf Hospital, Delft, The Netherlands

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Felix Beuschlein Endocrine Research Unit, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Klinikum der Universität München, Munich, Germany

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Summary

Pheochromocytomas (PCC) and paraganglioma (PGL) are rare neuroendocrine tumors arising from chromaffin cells of the neural crest. Mutations in the RET-proto-oncogene are associated with sporadic pheochromocytoma, familial or sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) and multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2. In the past, only few cases of pigmented PCCs, PGLs, and one case of pigmented MTC have been reported in the literature. Herein, we present the case of a 77-year old woman with a history of Tako-tsubo-cardiomyopathy and laboratory, as well as radiological, high suspicion of pheochromocytoma, who underwent left-sided adrenalectomy. The 3 cm tumor, which was located on the upper pole of the left adrenal, appeared highly pigmented with dark red to black color. Histologic examinations revealed highly pleomorphic cells with bizarre, huge hyperchromatic nuclei, that immunohistochemically were positive for chromogranin A and synaptophysin, focally positive for HMB45 and negative for melan A. These clinical and pathological features led to the diagnosis of the rare variant of a melanotic ‘black’ pheochromocytoma. In our case a somatic RET mutation in exon 16 (RET c.2753T>C, p.Met918Thy) was detected by targeted next generation sequencing. In summary, this case represents a rare variant of catecholamine-producing tumor with distinct histological features. A potential relationship between the phenotype, the cellular origin and the genetic alterations is discussed.

Learning points

  • Pheochromocytoma is a rare neuroendocrine tumor.

  • Pigmentation is seen in several types of tumors arising from the neural crest. The macroscopic black aspect can mislead to the diagnosis of a metastasis deriving from a malignant melanoma.

  • RET mutation are seen in catecholamine and non-catecholamine producing tumors of the same cellular origin.

Open access
W C Candy Sze Department of Endocrinology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, EC1A 7BE, UK

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Joe McQuillan Department of Ophthalmology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, EC1A 7BE, UK

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P Nicholas Plowman Department of Clinical Oncology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, EC1A 7BE, UK

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Niall MacDougall Department of Clinical Oncology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, EC1A 7BE, UK

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Philip Blackburn Gamma Knife Unit, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, EC1A 7BE, UK

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H Ian Sabin Gamma Knife Unit, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, EC1A 7BE, UK

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Nadeem Ali Department of Ophthalmology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, EC1A 7BE, UK

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William M Drake Department of Endocrinology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, EC1A 7BE, UK

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Summary

We report three patients who developed symptoms and signs of ocular neuromyotonia (ONM) 3–6 months after receiving gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) for functioning pituitary tumours. All three patients were complex, requiring multi-modality therapy and all had received prior external irradiation to the sellar region. Although direct causality cannot be attributed, the timing of the development of the symptoms would suggest that the GKS played a contributory role in the development of this rare problem, which we suggest clinicians should be aware of as a potential complication.

Learning points

  • GKS can cause ONM, presenting as intermittent diplopia.

  • ONM can occur quite rapidly after treatment with GKS.

  • Treatment with carbamazepine is effective and improve patient's quality of life.

Open access
Sunita M C De Sousa Department of Endocrinology, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Hormones and Cancer Group, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, 384 Victoria Street, Sydney, New South Wales, 2010, Australia

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Peter Earls Department of Anatomical Pathology, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Ann I McCormack Department of Endocrinology, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Hormones and Cancer Group, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, 384 Victoria Street, Sydney, New South Wales, 2010, Australia

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Summary

Pituitary hyperplasia (PH) occurs in heterogeneous settings and remains under-recognised. Increased awareness of this condition and its natural history should circumvent unnecessary trans-sphenoidal surgery. We performed an observational case series of patients referred to a single endocrinologist over a 3-year period. Four young women were identified with PH manifesting as diffuse, symmetrical pituitary enlargement near or touching the optic apparatus on MRI. The first woman presented with primary hypothyroidism and likely had thyrotroph hyperplasia given prompt resolution with thyroxine. The second and third women were diagnosed with pathological gonadotroph hyperplasia due to primary gonadal insufficiency, with histopathological confirmation including gonadal-deficiency cells in the third case where surgery could have been avoided. The fourth woman likely had idiopathic PH, though she had concomitant polycystic ovary syndrome which is a debated cause of PH. Patients suspected of PH should undergo comprehensive hormonal, radiological and sometimes ophthalmological evaluation. This is best conducted by a specialised multidisciplinary team with preference for treatment of underlying conditions and close monitoring over surgical intervention.

Learning points

  • Normal pituitary dimensions are influenced by age and gender with the greatest pituitary heights seen in young adults and perimenopausal women.

  • Pituitary enlargement may be seen in the settings of pregnancy, end-organ insufficiency with loss of negative feedback, and excess trophic hormone from the hypothalamus or neuroendocrine tumours.

  • PH may be caused or exacerbated by medications including oestrogen, GNRH analogues and antipsychotics.

  • Management involves identification of cases of idiopathic PH suitable for simple surveillance and reversal of pathological or iatrogenic causes where they exist.

  • Surgery should be avoided in PH as it rarely progresses.

Open access