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Experts issue recommendations for evaluating and treating pituitary incidentalomas
Date:4/7/2011

Chevy Chase, MDToday, The Endocrine Society released a new Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) for the evaluation and treatment of pituitary incidentalomas. The CPG is published in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), a publication of The Endocrine Society.

A pituitary incidentaloma is a tumor or lesion on or near the pituitary gland. It is found when a person has an imaging test for an unrelated reason. Doctors call this an "incidental" finding, meaning by chancethus, the name incidentaloma. This surprise finding is not uncommon. In studies of adults who had head imaging with MRI or CT scans for reasons other than pituitary disease, small incidentalomas were present in up to 20 percent of patients.

"Fortunately, incidentalomas are almost always benign and usually do not need surgery," said Pamela Freda, MD, of the Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York and chair of the task force that authored the CPG. "This new Clinical Practice Guideline makes recommendations for evaluating and treating a patient with a pituitary incidentaloma, and indicating when surgical therapy may be necessary."

Recommendations from the CPG include:

  • A complete history and physical examination, including a visual field examination if the lesion is touching the optic nerves, for patients with a pituitary incidentaloma;
  • Clinical assessments, neuro-imaging and visual field examinations for patients with pituitary incidentalomas not meeting criteria for surgical removal; and
  • Surgery for patients with pituitary incidentaloma if the tumor is leading to visual abnormalities, stroke-like damage to the pituitary gland (also known as a pituitary apoplexy) or if the tumor itself is producing excess hormones other than prolactin.

The Hormone Foundation, the patient education affiliate of The Endocrine Society, has published a companion patient guide to this CPG. The
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Contact: Aaron Lohr
alohr@endo-society.org
240-482-1380
The Endocrine Society
Source:Eurekalert

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