A macroprolactinoma becoming resistant to cabergoline and developing atypical pathology

Emilia Sbardella, Niki Karavitaki

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Pituitary adenomas are a common intracranial neoplasm, usually demonstrating a benign phenotype. They can be classified according to pathological, radiological, or clinical behaviour as typical, atypical or carcinomas, invasive or noninvasive, and aggressive or nonaggressive. Prolactinomas account for 40–60% of all pituitary adenomas, with dopamine agonists representing the first-line treatment and surgery/radiotherapy reserved for drug intolerance/resistance or in neuroophthalmological emergencies.
We present the case of a 62 year-old man with an apparently indolent prolactinsecreting macroadenoma managed with partial resection and initially showing a biochemical response to cabergoline. Five years later the tumour became resistant to cabergoline, despite a substantial increase in dosage, showing rapid growth and causing worsening of vision. The patient then underwent two further transsphenoidal operations and continued on high-dose cabergoline; despite these interventions, the tumour continued enlarging and prolactin increased to 107,269 mU/L. Histology of the third surgical specimen demonstrated features of aggressive behaviour (atypical adenoma with a high cell proliferation index) not present in the tumour removed at the first operation. Subsequently he was referred for radiotherapy aiming to control
tumour growth.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16-0038
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology: Case Reports
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2016


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