Pituitary carcinoma: a review of the literature.

Brian T. Ragel, William T. Couldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


Pituitary carcinomas, defined as distant metastases of a pituitary neoplasm, are rare; fewer than 140 reports exist in the English literature. The initial presenting pituitary tumor is usually a secreting, invasive macroadenoma, with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)--and prolactin (PRL)--secreting tumors being the most common. The latency period between the diagnosis of a pituitary tumor and the diagnosis of a pituitary carcinoma is 9.5 years for ACTH-producing lesions and 4.7 years for PRL-secreting tumors. Survival after documentation of metastatic disease is poor; 66% of patients die within 1 year. Treatment options include additional surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, all of which are associated with poor results. Future studies will focus on identifying those invasive pituitary tumors most likely to metastasize and treating them aggressively before they progress to pituitary carcinomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E7
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 15 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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