Pituitary stalk thickening

Pituitary stalk thickening

The diagnosis of lesions determining pituitary stalk thickness is challenging, and the identification of the underlying condition may require a long-term follow-up. Thus, clinicians should readily recognize that, when the diagnosis of central diabetes insipidus has been established, specific MRI sequences should be used in the assessment of the hypothalamic-pituitary region, and whole-brain evaluation is recommended. For clinical practice, a timely diagnosis is advisable to avoid central nervous system damage, pituitary defects and the risk of dissemination of germ cell tumours or organ involvement by LCH. Proper aetiological diagnosis can be achieved via a series of steps that start with careful observation of several neuroimaging predictors and endocrine dysfunction and then progress to more sophisticated and advanced imaging techniques 1).


325 patients with pituitary stalk thickening in the tertiary teaching Ruijin Hospital between January 2012 and February 2018 were enrolled. Basic characteristics and hormonal status were evaluated. Indicators to predict etiology in patients with histological diagnoses were analyzed.

Of the 325 patients, 62.5% were females. Deficiencies in gonadotropin was most common, followed by corticotrophingrowth hormone and thyrotropin. The increase of pituitary stalk width was associated with a risk of central diabetes insipidus (OR=3.57, P<0.001) and with a combination of central diabetes insipidus and anterior pituitary deficiency (OR=2.28, P=0.029). The cut-off pituitary stalk width of 4.75 mm had a sensitivity of 69.2% and a specificity of 71.4% for the presence of central diabetes insipidus together with anterior pituitary deficiency. Six indicators (central diabetes insipidus, patterns of pituitary stalk thickening, pituitary stalk width, neutrophilic granulocyte percentage, serum sodium level and gender were used to develop a model having an accuracy of 95.7% to differentiate neoplastic from inflammatory causes.

Pituitary stalk width could indicate the presence of anterior pituitary dysfunction especially in central diabetes insipidus patients. With the use of a diagnostic model, the neoplastic and inflammatory causes of pituitary stalk thickening could be preliminarily differentiated 2).


CSF-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) concentrations that exceed the established reference interval (undetectable values to 0.7 IU/L) in the presence of suprasellar lesions and pituitary stalk thickening must be considered pathological, establishing the need to exclude the presence of germinoma 3).


Diabetes insipidus (DI) associated with a thickened pituitary stalk is a diagnostic challenge in the pediatric population. Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) is a rare cause of this entity. A 4-year-old male child presented with central DI of 1-year duration, associated with a thickened pituitary stalk. The etiology for the same remained elusive as the patient had no other manifestation to suggest LCH. A year later, the patient developed a left frontal scalp swelling. Neuroradiology demonstrated multiple punched out osteolytic lesions in both the frontal bones. The infundibulum was thickened and showed post-contrast enhancement. Histology and immunohistochemistry (IHC) of the biopsy specimen confirmed LCH. The child was administered chemotherapy according to LCH protocol, which resulted in 33% reduction in the size of the skull lesions. The DI was controlled with medical management. The present case highlights the need for serial follow-up and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging that led to a diagnosis of LCH 4).

References

1)

Di Iorgi N, Morana G, Maghnie M. Pituitary stalk thickening on MRI: when is the best time to re-scan and how long should we continue re-scanning for? Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2015 Oct;83(4):449-55. doi: 10.1111/cen.12769. Epub 2015 Apr 6. PubMed PMID: 25759231.
2)

Ling SY, Zhao ZY, Tao B, Zhao HY, Su TW, Jiang YR, Xie J, Sun QF, Bian LG, Sun K, He NY, Yan FH, Wang WQ, Ning G, Sun LH, Liu JM. PITUITARY STALK THICKENING IN A LARGE COHORT – TOWARDS MORE ACCURATE PREDICATORS OF PITUITARY DYSFUNCTION AND ETIOLOGY. Endocr Pract. 2019 Mar 13. doi: 10.4158/EP-2018-0550. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30865546.
3)

González-Sánchez V, Moreno-Pérez O, Pellicer PS, Sánchez-Ortiga R, Guerra RA, Dot MM, Alfonso AM. Validation of the human chorionic gonadotropin immunoassay in cerebrospinal fluid for the diagnostic work-up of neurohypophyseal germinomas. Ann Clin Biochem. 2011 Sep;48(Pt 5):433-7. doi: 10.1258/acb.2010.010074. PubMed PMID: 21719508.
4)

Redhu R, Nadkarni T, Mahesh R. Diabetes insipidus associated with a thickened pituitary stalk in a case of Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. J Pediatr Neurosci. 2011 Jan;6(1):62-4. doi: 10.4103/1817-1745.84412. PubMed PMID: 21977093; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3173920.

Pituitary Adenoma Natural History

Pituitary Adenoma Natural History

Pituitary adenomas (PAs) are often detected as incidentalfindings. However, the natural history remains unclear. The objective of a study of Hwang et al., was to evaluate the natural history and growth pattern of untreated PAs.

Between 2003 and 2014, 59 PAs were managed with clinico-radiological follow up for longer than 12 months without any kind of therapeutic interventionTumor volumes were calculated at initial and last follow-up visit, and tumor growth during the observation period was determined. Data were analyzed according to clinical and imaging characteristics.

The mean initial and last tumor volume and diameter were 1.83±2.97 mL and 13.77±6.45 mm, 2.85±4.47 mL and 15.75±8.08 mm, respectively. The mean annual tumor growth rate was 0.33±0.68 mL/year during a mean observation period of 46.8±32.1 months. Sixteen (27%) PAs showed tumor growth. The initial tumor size (HR, 1.140; 95% confidence interval, 1.003-1.295; p=0.045) was the independent predictive factor that determined the tumor growth. Six patients (11%) of 56 conservatively managed non-symptomatic PAs underwent resection for aggravating visual symptoms with mean interval of 34.5 months from diagnosis. By Cox regression analysis, PAs of last longest diameter over 21.75 mm were a significant prognostic factor for eventual treatment.

The initial tumor size of PAs was independently associated with the tumor growth. Six patients (11%) of conservatively managed PAs were likely to be treated eventually. PAs of last follow-up longest diameter over 21.75 mm were a significant prognostic factor for treatment. Further studies with a large series are required to determine treatment strategy 1).


Despite the relatively high prevalence of pituitary incidentalomas (PIs)/nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs), the evidence on the natural history of these entities is scarce and of low quality. PIs/NFPAs seem to have fairly rare complications that may be more common when lesions are large (>10 mm) and solid 2).


The ‘watch and wait’ policy seems reasonable for microadenomas but is probably not a safe approach for macroadenomas, which appear to have a significant growth potential; in these cases, given the lack of established medical treatment, the decision for surgical intervention should balance the presence of significant comorbidities and the anaesthetic/peri-operative risks at presentation against the probability of tumour enlargement and its consequences, as well as the possible loss of advantages associated with early operation 3).

References

1)

Hwang K, Kwon T, Park J, Joo JD, Han JH, Oh CW, Kim CY. Growth Pattern and Prognostic Factors of Untreated Nonfunctioning Pituitary Adenomas. J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2019 Mar;62(2):256-262. doi: 10.3340/jkns.2018.0153. Epub 2019 Feb 27. PubMed PMID: 30840981.
2)

Fernández-Balsells MM, Murad MH, Barwise A, Gallegos-Orozco JF, Paul A, Lane MA, Lampropulos JF, Natividad I, Perestelo-Pérez L, Ponce de León-Lovatón PG, Erwin PJ, Carey J, Montori VM. Natural history of nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas and incidentalomas: a systematic review and metaanalysis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Apr;96(4):905-12. doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-1054. Review. PubMed PMID: 21474687.
3)

Karavitaki N, Collison K, Halliday J, Byrne JV, Price P, Cudlip S, Wass JA. What is the natural history of nonoperated nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas? Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2007 Dec;67(6):938-43. Epub 2007 Aug 13. PubMed PMID: 17692109.
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