Non Functioning Pituitary Adenoma Treatment

Non-Functioning Pituitary Adenoma Treatment

Patients who have been diagnosed with a non-functioning pituitary tumor typically are already suffering from symptoms, such as vision changes, that impact their quality of life. Treatment focuses on removing the tumor to rid the patient of these symptoms. Understanding the treatment options available will help patients make informed decisions about their health.

When Is Treatment Of A Non-Functioning Pituitary Tumor Needed?

Non-functioning pituitary tumors do not always need treatment. Because they do not secrete hormones, these tumors can go for years unnoticed. However, when they start to cause symptoms — which is usually what leads to diagnosis of the tumor — then treatment can help improve and protect the patient's quality of life. When the symptoms start to seriously daily life, then it's time to think about pursuing treatment.

Surgery As Treatment For Non-Functioning Pituitary Tumors

The only true cure for non-functioning pituitary tumors is surgical removal of the adenoma. This removes the pressure that the tumor is causing on the optic nerve or other areas of the brain, and in many patients will alleviate the symptoms.

The success of surgery depends on several factors. The size of the tumor, for example, will determine how easy it is to remove. Also, location of the tumor and whether or not it has spread into other areas of the brain can impact its ability to be removed. If the tumor has expanded into the sinus cavity or other areas of the brain cavity, the cure rate is lower because surgeons often cannot remove the entire tumor. For those with localized tumors that can be removed completely, cure rate is between 70 and 80 percent.

Most surgeries are endoscopic endonasal surgeries that remove the tumor through the sinus cavity. This minimally invasive approach has few risks and provides fast results.

Medication as Non-Functioning Pituitary Adenoma Treatment

Because non-functioning pituitary adenomas do not cause hormonal changes, medication is not an effective treatment option. No medication appears to shrink or slow the growth of these tumors. Patients who have pituitary insufficiency problems due to the tumors may need hormone replacement therapy to control symptoms.

Radiation as Non-Functioning Pituitary Adenoma Treatment

Finally, radiation can be used for patients who cannot have surgery to treat their tumors. Patients who have not found relief after surgery or who have their tumors grow back after surgery may have radiation therapy to control growth and shrink the tumors. Radiosurgery does, however, often lead to loss of pituitary function, as the radiation destroys the gland along with the tumor.

Patients should discuss their treatment options with their doctor to determine the best possible way to get relief from the symptoms of this common type of pituitary tumor.