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Residual Tumor Confers a 10-Fold Increased Risk of Regrowth in Clinically Nonfunctioning Pituitary Tumors.

  • Author(s): Maletkovic, Jelena;
  • Dabbagh, Asmaa;
  • Zhang, Dongyun;
  • Zahid, Abdul;
  • Bergsneider, Marvin;
  • Wang, Marilene B;
  • Linetsky, Michael;
  • Salamon, Noriko;
  • Yong, William H;
  • Vinters, Harry V;
  • Heaney, Anthony P
  • et al.


We evaluated tumor recurrence and regrowth rates following endoscopic transnasal transsphenoidal (TNTS) surgical removal in a consecutive series of clinically nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (CNFTs).


Retrospective chart review of clinical, biochemical, and sellar MRI findings in all TNTS surgeries in patients with CNFT, performed by a single surgeon, between 2008 and 2015 (n = 280).


Ninety-three patients met eligibility criteria, with complete clinical, biochemical, and imaging follow-up for a 3-year minimum.


Of 85 patients who were not irradiated, 3-month postsurgical MRI demonstrated no residual tumor in 58 of 85 (68.2%), equivocal findings in 12 of 85 (14.1%), and definite residual tumor in 15 of 85 (17.6%) patients. Six of 85 (7.1%) demonstrated tumor regrowth by 3 years, and 2 further patients demonstrated true tumor recurrence at 3 and 6 years after surgery, respectively, for a total recurrence rate of 9.4% (8 of 85). Eight of the 93 patients were irradiated between 3 months and 4 years after pituitary surgery. In 3 patients with tumor regrowth, 2 exhibited residual tumor and 1 had no residual findings at the 3-month postoperative imaging. Overall, Ki-67 labeling index or Knosp grading did not predict recurrence.


Tumor recurrence at 3 years was low (1 of 58; 1.7%) if the 3-month postoperative MRI showed no residual tumor. The findings support a less frequent imaging schedule for this group. Patients with definite residual tumor visible at 3 months harbor the greatest risk for tumor growth, but regrowth does not occur in all patients (6 of 15; 40%).

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