Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 38, Issue 11, pp 1191–1197 | Cite as

Retrospective observational analysis of non-irradiated non-functioning pituitary adenomas

  • I. Karamouzis
  • R. Berardelli
  • N. Prencipe
  • A. Berton
  • C. Bona
  • G. Stura
  • M. Corsico
  • V. Gasco
  • M. Maccario
  • E. Ghigo
  • S. GrottoliEmail author
Original Article



The management of choice of non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs) remains debulking surgery when symptomatic. However, patient series systematically reporting the NFPAs outcome that were not treated either surgically, medically or with radiotherapy during long follow-up thereby giving an indication of their natural history are limited. Aim of the present study was to evaluate the natural course of presumed NFPAs, the outcome of confirmed NFPAs during a long follow-up period.


Between 1993 and 2013, 84 patients with presumed NFPA were studied retrospectively. Patients were enrolled based on the following criteria: imaging suggestive of pituitary adenoma, absence of any biochemical/clinical evidence of hormonal excess, exclusion of prolactinomas and at least one sequential imaging during the follow-up. Repeated assessment of the pituitary function, visual fields and imaging was performed at regular intervals. The follow-up duration was evaluated from the first and last imaging dates.


In group F (follow-up without surgery, 33 patients), the macroadenomas showed a 15 % probability of tumor growth and reduction. Similar tumor size alterations were observed also for the microadenomas. In group S (surgery, 51 patients), both residual tumors (>1 and <1 cm) following initial surgical resection remain mainly stable until the last imaging.


Based on the given lack of approved medical treatment and the possible risks of surgical intervention in presence of significant comorbidities, our study proposes a conservative approach with a careful follow-up in patients with NFPAs without visual or neurological abnormalities.


Pituitary adenoma Tumor growth Outcome Conservative approach 



This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The authors declare that all the procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

The authors declare that an informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Karamouzis
    • 1
  • R. Berardelli
    • 1
  • N. Prencipe
    • 1
  • A. Berton
    • 1
  • C. Bona
    • 1
  • G. Stura
    • 2
  • M. Corsico
    • 2
  • V. Gasco
    • 1
  • M. Maccario
    • 1
  • E. Ghigo
    • 1
  • S. Grottoli
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolism, Department of Medical SciencesUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  2. 2.Neuroscience DepartmentUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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