Effects of medical therapy on pituitary tumors.

Previously surgery and irradiation were the only available procedures to treat patients with pituitary tumors. During the last few decades, novel drugs such as dopamine agonists and long-acting somatostatin analogs were developed and, an alternative medical therapy emerged. This paper summarizes the effect of medical therapy on the morphologic features of pituitary tumors and illustrates the ultrastructural alterations on electron micrographs. Currently drugs can be used in the management of pituitary tumors secreting GH, PRL, and/or TSH in excess. No medical therapy is available so far for ACTH-, FSH-, LH-, or alpha-subunit-secreting tumors as well as non-hormone-secreting pituitary tumors. Dopamine agonists are effective in the management of PRL-secreting tumors; they cause marked reversible tumor shrinkage in the substantial majority of patients. Long-acting somatostatin analogs are useful in the management of GH- and TSH-secreting pituitary tumors; they lead to mild to moderate tumor shrinkage in approximately 50% of cases. In patients treated with these drugs reduction of elevated blood hormone levels and amelioration of clinical symptoms ensue. It should be emphasized that no permanent cure is obtained. Blood hormone levels increase and the clinical symptoms reappear after discontinuation of treatment. Recently GH receptor blockers (pegvisomant) were introduced in the treatment of GH-producing pituitary adenomas. To the authors' knowledge the effect of these drugs on the morphology of pituitary tumors has not been revealed so far.
AuthorsKalman Kovacs, Eva Horvath
JournalUltrastructural pathology (Ultrastruct Pathol) 2005 May-Aug Vol. 29 Issue 3-4 Pg. 163-7 ISSN: 0191-3123 [Print] United States
PMID16036872 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
Chemical References
  • Dopamine Agonists
  • pegvisomant
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Prolactin
  • Thyrotropin
  • Octreotide
  • Dopamine Agonists (therapeutic use)
  • Human Growth Hormone (analogs & derivatives, secretion, therapeutic use)
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Octreotide (therapeutic use)
  • Pituitary Neoplasms (drug therapy, metabolism, ultrastructure)
  • Prolactin (secretion)
  • Thyrotropin (secretion)
  • Treatment Outcome

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