Pituitary apoplexy in non-functioning pituitary adenomas: long term follow up is important because of significant numbers of tumour recurrences

A Pal, C Capatina, A P Tenreiro, P D Guardiola, J V Byrne, S Cudlip, N Karavitaki, J A H Wass

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37 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: The frequency of pituitary tumour regrowth after an episode of classical pituitary apoplexy is unknown. It is thus unclear whether regrowth, if it occurs, does so less frequently than with non-apoplectic non-functioning pituitary macroadenomas that have undergone surgery without postoperative irradiation. This has important repercussions on follow up protocols for these patients.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study of patients diagnosed with classical pituitary apoplexy in Oxford in the last 24 years.

MEASUREMENTS: MRI/CT scans of the pituitary were performed post-operatively and in those patients who did not receive pituitary irradiation, this was repeated yearly for 5 years and 2 yearly thereafter.

RESULTS: Thirty-two patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas who presented with classical pituitary apoplexy were studied. There were 23 men and the mean age was 56·6 years (range 29-85). The mean follow up period was 81 months (range 6-248). Five patients received adjuvant radiotherapy within 6 months of surgery and were excluded from further analysis. In this group, there were no recurrences during a mean follow up of 83 months (range 20-150). In the remaining 27 cases there were 3 recurrences, with a mean of 79 months follow up (range 6-248) occurring 12, 51 and 86 months after surgery. This gives a recurrence rate of 11·1% at a mean follow up of 6·6 years post surgery. All recurrences had residual tumour on the post operative scan.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with classical pituitary apoplexy may show recurrent pituitary tumour growth and therefore these patients need continued post-operative surveillance if they have not had post-operative radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-4
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

Bibliographical note

© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


  • Adenoma
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Apoplexy
  • Pituitary Neoplasms
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


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