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Neurosurgery. 1993 Jul;33(1):20-7.

Growth hormone-producing pituitary adenomas: correlations between clinical characteristics and morphology.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Toranomon Hospital, Tokyo.


In this study, we compared the clinical and endocrinological characteristics, neuroimaging findings, surgical outcome, and conventional histological findings (including immunohistochemistry) with the electron microscopic appearance of 31 growth hormone (GH)-producing adenomas. By electron microscopy, these 31 tumors were divided into 23 densely granulated somatotroph adenomas (DG adenomas) and 8 sparsely granulated somatotroph adenomas (SG adenomas). SG adenomas more frequently affected younger women, but no significant correlation was found between the adenoma type and the characteristic signs and symptoms of acromegaly, the incidence of diabetes mellitus or hypertension, or the basal serum GH and insulin-like growth factor I levels. A distinct response of GH to thyrotropin-releasing hormone, bromocriptine, or GH-releasing hormone was significantly more common in patients with DG adenomas than in those with SG adenomas, whereas the incidence of a response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone or oral glucose was not significantly different between the two groups. An analysis of neuroimaging findings and surgical results indicated that SG adenomas were more likely to be macroadenomas with suprasellar extension or invasive tumors and had a lower surgical cure rate. However, postoperative radiotherapy seemed to be similarly effective in both types of adenoma to prevent a tumor recurrence and to reduce postoperative GH basal level in serum. Light microscopy showed that DG adenomas were mainly acidophilic and were immunopositive not only for GH but also for prolactin (43%), the beta subunit of thyroid-stimulating hormone (26%), and the alpha subunit of glycoprotein hormone (87%), whereas SG adenomas were almost all chromophobic and only revealed immunopositivity for GH.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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