What is a pituitary tumour?
The pituitary gland is a small endocrine gland positioned near the base of the skull and pituitary tumours originate from cells in the pituitary gland that secrete hormones. They can secrete an excess of one, or more rarely, several hormones or they can be non-hormone producing tumours. Growth hormone producing tumours cause acromegaly in adults. Tumours producing the hormone ACTH which stimulates cortisone production from the adrenal glands cause Cushing's disease. Prolactin causes milk production (Prolactinoma).
What are the symptoms of a pituitary tumour?
Overproduction of one hormone may be accompanied by a deficient production of other hormones resulting in for example; infertility, irregular menstrual cycle and/or decreased libido. Non-hormone producing tumours usually produce symptoms of headache and/or encroachment on the visual fields caused by pressure on the optic nerve crossing.
How is a pituitary tumour diagnosed?
Diagnosis is by testing blood levels for hormone level changes and by MRI scan.
What is the treatment for pituitary tumours?
Most often surgery is the first choice. For small tumours, so called microadenomas, Gamma Knife surgery can be considered as the primary treatment choice under certain circumstances. Tumour rests can be treated by Gamma Knife surgery. The standard postoperative adjuvant treatment is still in many centres conventional radiotherapy. Drug therapy is available for suppression of hormone production, at least as a temporary measure, from hormone producing tumours.
For more information on pre- and post-treatment for pituitary tumours with Gamma Knife, see the related downloads section below.
Further information on pituitary tumours
Please contact the Gamma Knife Centre directly or go to The Pituitary Foundation.
For health professionals
If you would like more information on the clinical applications of Gamma Knife treatment for pituitary tumours, please see Professor Lippitz's website.