UpToDate: Giant Prolactinoma

Giant prolactinoma

Their definition should be restricted to pituitary adenomas with a diameter of 40 mm or more, significant extrasellar extension, very high prolactin concentrations (usually above 1000 µg/L), and no concomitant GH or ACTH secretion.

Epidemiology

They represent only 2-3 % of all prolactinomas.

Giant prolactinoma are rare tumours. They are much more frequent in young to middle-aged men than in women with a male to female ratio of about 9:1. 1) 2).

Symptoms

Endocrine symptoms are often present but overlooked for a long period of time and diagnosis is eventually made when neurological complications arise from massive extension into the surrounding structures, leading to cranial nerve palsy, hydrocephalus, temporal lobe epilepsy or exophthalmos.

Prolactin concentrations are usually in the range of 1,000 to 100,000 µg/L, but may be underestimated by the so-called ‘high dose hook effect’.

Males

Sexual dysfunction is a hallmark of prolactinomas in males. Tumors that co-secrete prolactin and LH are extremely rare and and only a case reported in an adult male. In this case, normal testosterone was maintained by intact LH levels even in the face of the highest prolactin level reported to date 3).

Treatment

As in every prolactinoma, dopamine agonists are the first-line treatment allowing rapid alleviation of neurologic symptoms in the majority of the cases, a significant reduction of tumour size in three-fourths; of the patients and PRL normalization in 60-70%. These extensive tumours are usually not completely resectable and neurosurgery has significant morbidity and mortality. It should therefore be restricted to acute complications such as apoplexy or leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (often induced by medical treatment), or to patients with insufficient tumoral response or progression. Irradiation and temozolomide are useful adjuvant therapies in a subset of patients with aggressive/invasive tumours which are not controlled despite combined medical and surgical treatments. Because of these various challenges, it needs a multidisciplinary management in expert centres 4).

Case series

In 42 cases, male patients accounted for 71.4% of this series and were relatively younger (35.70±2.42 vs. 52.00±3.55 years, p=0.0011) and harbored bigger tumors (14.57 vs. 7.74 cm3, p=0.0179) compared to females. Almost all of these tumors showed suprasellar extension (97.6%) and cavernous sinus invasion (92.9%). Dopamine agonist represented an efficient method to control PRL concentrations (98.8%) and reduce tumor burdens (81.2 %). PRL normalization was detected in 13 out of the 27 patients initially treated with bromocriptine (BRC) whereas none of the 14 patients with first-line operation gained a normalization of PRL concentration after surgery. Although there was no reliable predictor of tumor response, First PRL reduction was a predictive criterion for the nadir PRL level during the long-time period of follow-up for first-line bromocriptine treatment. In conclusion, patients with giant prolactinomas did not gain more benefits from initial surgery. Dopamine agonist (BRC) should be first-line treatment for giant prolactinomas whereas operation merely served as a remedy for acute compression symptoms and dopamine agonist resistance. Consecutive monitoring of serum PRL levels in the early stage of initial BRC treatment is useful for evaluation of therapeutic effect and further therapeutic decision 5).


16 patients (43.7 % women); mean age at diagnosis: 42.1 ± 21 years. The most frequent presentation was compressive symptoms. The delay in diagnosis was higher in women (median of 150 months vs. 12 in men; p = 0.09). The mean maximum tumor diameter at diagnosis was 56.9 ± 15.5 mm, and mean prolactin levels were 10,995.9 ± 12,157.8 ng/mL. Dopamine agonists were the first-line treatment in 11 patients (mean maximum dose: 3.9 ± 3.2 mg/week). Surgery was the initial treatment in five patients and the second-line treatment in six. Radiotherapy was used in four cases. All patients but one, are still with dopamine agonists. After a mean follow-up of 9 years, prolactin normalized in 7/16 patients (43.7 %) and 13 patients (81 %) reached prolactin levels lower than twice the upper limit of normal. Mean prolactin level at last visit: 79.5 ± 143 ng/mL. Tumor volume was decreased by 93.8 ± 11.3 %, and final maximum tumor diameter was 18.4 ± 18.8 mm. Three patients are actually tumor free. Giant prolactinomas are characterized by a large tumor volume and extreme prolactin hypersecretion. Multimodal treatment is frequently required to obtain biochemical and tumor control 6).

References

1)

Shrivastava RK, Arginteanu MS, King WA, Post KD. Giant prolactinomas:clinical management and long-term follow up. J Neurosurg. 2002;97:299–306. doi: 10.3171/jns.2002.97.2.0299.
2)

Corsello SM, Ubertini G, Altomare M, Lovicu RM, Migneco MG, Rota CA, Colosimo C. Giant prolactinomas in men: efficacy of cabergoline treatment. Clin Endocrinol. 2003;58:662–670. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2265.2003.01770.x.
3)

Tamagno G, Daly AF, Deprez M, Vroonen L, Andris C, Martin D, Beckers A. Absence of hypogonadism in a male patient with a giant prolactinoma: a clinical paradox. Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2008 Feb;69(1):47-52. Epub 2007 Dec 20. PubMed PMID: 18082643.
4)

Maiter D, Delgrange E. The challenges in managing giant prolactinomas. Eur J Endocrinol. 2014 Feb 17. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24536090.
5)

Lv L, Hu Y, Yin S, Zhou P, Yang Y, Ma W, Zhang S, Wang X, Jiang S. Giant Prolactinomas: Outcomes of Multimodal Treatments for 42 Cases with Long-Term Follow-Up. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2018 Jun 25. doi: 10.1055/a-0597-8877. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29940665.
6)

Andujar-Plata P, Villar-Taibo R, Ballesteros-Pomar MD, Vidal-Casariego A, Pérez-Corral B, Cabezas-Agrícola JM, Álvarez-Vázquez P, Serramito R, Bernabeu I. Long-term outcome of multimodal therapy for giant prolactinomas. Endocrine. 2016 Oct 4. PubMed PMID: 27704480.

Update: Prolactinoma Radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery also serves as an option for those refractory to medical and surgical therapy 1).
GKRS plays a significant role in the treatment of non-functioning [NFA] and hormonal-active [HAA] pituitary adenoma. It affords high rate of tumor control and offers low risk of collateral neurological or endocrine axis injury. A study showed that control of tumor growth was achieved in 90% patients, shrinkage of tumor in 54% and arrest of progression in 36% cases after GKRS treatment. The biochemical remission rate in GH secreting adenoma was 57%, ACTH adenoma was 67% and prolactinoma was 40%. Age less than 50 years and tumor volume less than 5cm3 were associated with a favourable radiosurgical outcome 2).

Case series

2015

Radiotherapy as an alternative and adjuvant treatment for prolactinomas has been performed at the Department of Radiation Oncology, Prince of Wales Cancer Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, with the linear accelerator since 1990.
In a retrospective review of 13 patients managed with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and 5 managed with fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT), as well as 5 managed with conventional radiotherapy, at the Prince of Wales Hospital. Patients with a histopathologically diagnosed prolactinoma were eligible. Those patients who had a confirmed pathological diagnosis of prolactinoma following surgical intervention, a prolactin level elevated above 500 μg/L, or a prolactin level persistently elevated above 200 μg/L with exclusion of other causes were represented in this review.
At the end of documented follow-up (SRS median 6 years, FSRT median 2 years), no SRS patients showed an increase in tumour volume. After FSRT, 1 patient showed an increase in size, 2 showed a decrease in size and 2 patients showed no change. Prolactin levels trended towards improvement after SRS and FSRT, but no patients achieved the remission level of <20 μg/L. Seven of 13 patients in the SRS group achieved a level of <500 μg/L, whereas no patients reached this target after FSRT.
A reduction in prolactin level is frequent after SRS and FSRT for prolactinomas; however, true biochemical remission is uncommon. Tumour volume control in this series was excellent, but this may be related to the natural history of the disease. Morbidity and mortality after stereotactic radiation were very low in this series 3).


Cohen-Inbar et al., reviewed the outcome of patients with medically and surgically refractory prolactinomas treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) during a 22 years follow-up period.
They reviewed the patient database at the University of Virginia Gamma Knife center during a 25-year period (1989-2014), identifying 38 patients having neurosurgical, radiological and endocrine follow-up.
Median age at GKRS treatment was 43 years. Median follow-up was 42.3 months (range 6-207.9). 55.3 % (n = 21) were taking a dopamine agonist at time of GKRS. 63.2 % (n = 24) had cavernous sinus tumor invasion. Endocrine remission (normal serum prolactin off of a dopamine agonist) was achieved in 50 % (n = 19). GKRS induced hypopituitarism occurred in 30.3 % (n = 10). Cavernous sinus involvement was shown to be a significant negative prognosticator of endocrine remission. Taking a dopamine agonist drug at the time of GKRS showed a tendency to decrease the probability for endocrine remission.
GKRS for refractory prolactinomas can lead to endocrine remission in many patients. Hypopituitarism is the most common side effect of GKRS 4).

2013

evaluated the efficacy of Gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery (GKSR) as an adjunctive management modality for patients with drug resistant or intolerant cavernous sinus invasive prolactinomas. Twenty-two patients with cavernous sinus invasive prolactinoma underwent GKSR between 1994 and 2009. Thirteen patients were dopamine agonist (DA) resistant. Six patients were intolerant to DA. Three patients chose GKSR as their initial treatment modality in hopes they might avoid life long suppression medication. The median tumor volume was 3.0 cm3 (range 0.3–11.6). The marginal tumor dose (median= 15 Gy, range 12–25 Gy) prescribed was based on the dose delivered to the optic apparatus. The median follow-up interval was 36 months (range, 12–185). Endocrine normalization was defined as a normal serum prolactin level off DA (cure) or on DA. Endocrine improvement was defined asa decreased but still elevated serum prolactin level. Endocrine deterioration was defined as an increased serum prolactin level. Endocrine normalization was achieved in six(27.3%) patients. Twelve (54.5%) patients had endocrine improvement. Four patients (18.2%) developed delayed increased prolactin. Imaging-defined local tumor control was achieved in 19 (86.4%) patients, 12 of whom had tumor regression. Three patients had a delayed tumor progression and required additional management. One patient developed a new pituitary axis deficiency after GKSR. Invasive prolactinomas continue to pose management challenges. GKSR is a non invasive adjunctive option that may reduce prolactin levels in patients who are resistant to or intolerant of suppression medication. In a minority of cases, patients may no longer require long term suppression therapy 5).

2006

Twenty-three patients were included in analysis of endocrine outcomes (median and average follow-up of 55 and 58 mo, respectively) and 28 patients were included in analysis of imaging outcomes (median and average follow-up of 48 and 52 mo, respectively). Twenty-six percent of patients achieved a normal serum prolactin (remission) with an average time of 24.5 months. Remission was significantly associated with being off of a dopamine agonist at the time of GKRS and a tumor volume less than 3.0 cm3 (P < 0.05 for both). Long-term image-based volumetric control was achieved in 89% of patients. Complications included new pituitary hormone deficiencies in 28% of patients and cranial nerve palsy in two patients (7%).
Clinical remission in 26% of treated patients is a modest result. However, because the GKRS treated tumors were refractory to other therapies and because complication rates were low, GKRS should be part of the armamentarium for treating refractory prolactinomas. Patients with tumors smaller than 3.0 cm3 and who are not receiving dopamine agonist at the time of treatment will likely benefit most 6).

2000

Twenty patients with prolactinomas were followed after GKS. Five patients were treated successfully; their prolactin (PRL) levels dropped into the normal range and dopaminergic drugs could be discontinued. Two spontaneous pregnancies were observed and 11 patients experienced improvement. Improvement was defined as normal PRL levels with the continued possibility of reduced medical treatment or a substantially reduced medical treatment dose with some degree of hyperprolactinemia maintained. The treatment failed in three patients who experienced no improvement. Patients treated with dopaminergic drugs during GKS did significantly less well in comparison with the untreated group when a cumulative distribution function (Kaplan-Meier estimate) was used. CONCLUSIONS:
The results of GKS for prolactinomas in this investigation are better than the results published by others. This may be an effect of case selection because there were no “salvage cases” in our group of patients. Because a dopamine agonist seemed to induce radioprotection in this series, it is suggested that GKS be performed during an intermission in drug therapy when the dopamine agonist is discontinued 7).
1)

Wong A, Eloy JA, Couldwell WT, Liu JK. Update on prolactinomas. Part 2: Treatment and management strategies. J Clin Neurosci. 2015 Oct;22(10):1568-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2015.03.059. Epub 2015 Aug 1. Review. PubMed PMID: 26243714.
2)

Narayan V, Mohammed N, Bir SC, Savardekar AR, Patra DP, Bollam P, Nanda A. Long term Outcome of Non-functioning and Hormonal-active Pituitary Adenoma after Gamma Knife Radio Surgery. World Neurosurg. 2018 Mar 21. pii: S1878-8750(18)30576-X. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.03.094. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29574220.
3)

Wilson PJ, Williams JR, Smee RI. Single-centre experience of stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy for prolactinomas with the linear accelerator. J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2015 Jun;59(3):371-8. doi: 10.1111/1754-9485.12257. Epub 2014 Nov 20. PubMed PMID: 25410143.
4)

Cohen-Inbar O, Xu Z, Schlesinger D, Vance ML, Sheehan JP. Gamma Knife radiosurgery for medically and surgically refractory prolactinomas: long-term results. Pituitary. 2015 Dec;18(6):820-30. doi: 10.1007/s11102-015-0658-1. PubMed PMID: 25962347.
5)

Liu X, Kano H, Kondziolka D, Park KJ, Iyer A, Shin S, Niranjan A, Flickinger JC, Lunsford LD. Gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery for drug resistant or intolerant invasive prolactinomas. Pituitary. 2013 Mar;16(1):68-75. PubMed PMID: 22302560.
6)

Pouratian N, Sheehan J, Jagannathan J, Laws ER Jr, Steiner L, Vance ML. Gamma knife radiosurgery for medically and surgically refractory prolactinomas. Neurosurgery. 2006 Aug;59(2):255-66; discussion 255-66. PubMed PMID: 16883166.
7)

Landolt AM, Lomax N. Gamma knife radiosurgery for prolactinomas. J Neurosurg. 2000 Dec;93 Suppl 3:14-8. PubMed PMID: 11143231.
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