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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2018 Sep;89(3):354-359. doi: 10.1111/cen.13791. Epub 2018 Jul 11.

Long-term follow-up of a large prospective cohort of patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas: The outcome of a conservative management policy.

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Department of Diabetes & Endocrinology, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK.



To assess the clinical outcome of a strategy of conservative monitoring of patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPA) after pituitary surgery and in patients without surgery.


Retrospective study of outcomes, using a clinical information system.


An unselected, clinical series of patients seen in a single centre between 1989 and 2015.


Review of clinical information system data to obtain details and dates of surgery, radiotherapy, pituitary imaging and outcomes.


We identified 190 cases of NFPA. Trans-sphenoidal surgery (TSS) had been performed as primary therapy in 132 cases (all macro-adenomas). At a mean 7.6-years follow-up after TSS without immediate pituitary radiotherapy, recurrence occurred in 10.7% of cases with no visible postoperative residual adenoma, 38.8% with intrasellar and 66.7% with extrasellar residuum. Recurrence was defined as growth of residual tumour requiring intervention. On survival analysis, at 10 years, recurrence-free survival was 75% in patients with no residual tumour and 40% with intrasellar residuum. Recurrence occurred in 12.5% of 24 patients who had received postop radiotherapy. Patients were monitored conservatively without initial surgery in 65 patients. After a mean of 5-year monitoring, only 20% required intervention during follow-up (18.5% TSS) and 30.8% died of nonpituitary causes during follow-up.


This study suggests that a conservative approach may be safe and appropriate in patients with NFPA if followed up with appropriate imaging surveillance, whether postoperative or without primary surgery.


Non-functioning pituitary tumour; Null Cell pituitary tumour; Pituitary adenoma; Pituitary tumour; conservative management; radiotherapy


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