Surgical treatment of giant pituitary adenomas: strategies and results in a series of 95 consecutive patients

Pietro MortiniMassimo Giovanelli


Giant pituitary adenomas, defined as those measuring at least 4 cm in maximum diameter, are a therapeutic challenge. We report our experience in a large, consecutive series of patients with giant adenomas. Between 1990 and 2004, 95 patients with a giant pituitary adenomas underwent surgery at our department. Nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma was the most frequent type (n = 70; 73.7%), whereas hormone-secreting adenomas numbered only 25 (26.3%). The mean age at the time of surgery (+/-standard error of the mean) was 48.4 +/- 1.5 years; there were 66 men (69.5%) and 29 women (20.5%). In total, 111 surgical procedures were performed. Of these, 85 approaches (76.6%) were transsphenoidal and 26 (23.4%) were transcranial. Visual improvement occurred in 59 of the 79 patients with preoperative defect who could be evaluated after surgery (74.7%). Radical tumor excision was obtained in 14 patients (14.7%). Adjuvant medical and radiation therapies led to 74.5% (95% confidence interval, 62.7-86.4%) control of tumor growth at 5 years. This was not different in patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas compared with patients with hormone-secreting tumors. In the subgroup of patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas, radiation ther...Continue Reading


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