A Prospective Study of Nonfunctioning Pituitary Adenomas: Presentation Management and Clinical Outcome



Document Type



A prospective study was performed to evaluate the presentation, therapeutic management, and clinical outcome of nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs). In most of 385 consecutive patients, NFPAs were macroadenomas. The mean follow-up duration was 5.5 ± 1.4 years. Presentation was dominated by headache, visual disturbance, and hypopituitarism. Pituitary apoplexy (clinical and subclinical) was observed in 88 patients. Appropriate steroids replacement was given before surgery. Endoscope-assisted transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) was performed, and was well tolerated by all patients. At discharge, visual disturbances were improved in 215 (87.6%) patients who had complained of visual impairment preoperatively. The shorter the time from presentation of pituitary apoplexy to surgery, the better the outcome in visual function. Seventy-two (18.7%) patients developed transient diabetes insipidus (DI) and 85 (22.1%) patients developed hyponatremia, but all these improved within six weeks. Hypocortisolism was confirmed in 84 (21.8%) patients with an abnormal postoperative day 2 (POD2) 0800 serum cortisol level and in 122 (31.7%) patients with an abnormal POD6 0800 serum cortisol level. Hypothyroidism occurred in 135 (35.1%) patients. Steroids replacement was thus given immediately. Eight (2.1%) patients needed lifetime hormone substitution. No adrenal crisis occurred. Five (1.3%) patients died within six weeks. Residual tumors were confirmed in 79 patients (20.8%) by postoperative four-month enhanced MR imaging. Tumor recurrence or regrowth occurred in 56 patients (14.7%) during the follow-up period. These patients required repeat TSS or radiosurgery. The findings of this study support the use of TSS as a feasible initial treatment for NFPAs. With appropriate perioperative management of abnormal fluid, electrolyte, and endocrinological function, TSS was associated with minimum morbidity and was well tolerated by patients regardless of age. However, close screening of pituitary function and adequate neuroradiological follow-up should be performed after surgery for detection of tumor recurrence or regrowth. The indications for repeat TSS and postoperative radiosurgery in residual or recurrent NFPAs should be better defined. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Neuro-Oncology







First Page


Last Page


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


This document is currently not available here.