Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pituicytoma in a patient with Cushings disease: case report and review of the literature

K. Schmalisch, J. Schittenhelm, F. H. Ebner, F. Beuschlein, J. Honegger and R. Beschorner


Pituicytoma is an exceptionally rare low-grade glioma (WHO grade I) of the neurohypophysis and infundibulum. We are reporting the case of a 48-year-old man who presented with severe Cushing′s syndrome. Endocrinological evaluation unequivocally confirmed pituitary-dependent Cushing’s syndrome (=Cushing’s disease).

Cranial MR-imaging displayed a conspicuous area in the dorsal and basal pituitary gland and a minimal bulging of the pituitary gland paramedian of the pituitary stalk on the right side. Transsphenoidal inspection revealed a small tumor in the basal and dorsal pituitary gland.

Surprisingly, the definite postoperative histopathological diagnosis of the removed tumor was pituicytoma and not pituitary adenoma. Hence, the microadenoma responsible for Cushing’s disease was not yet removed and persistent hypercortisolism necessitated transsphenoidal re-operation. During re-operation, hemihypophysectomy was performed on the right side. The non-tumorous specimen of the adeno-hypophysis showed signs of Crooke’s hyalinization consistent with Cushing’s disease.

Undetectable postoperative ACTH- and cortisol levels provided clear evidence that the underlying ACTH-source was successfully removed during re-operation.

Coincidence of pituicytoma and pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease has not previously been reported.

Keywords Pituicytoma - Neurohypophysis - Pituitary tumor - Glioma

J. Honegger and R. Beschorner contributed equally to the work and thus share senior-authorship.

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