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Treatment Options for Pituitary Tumors

    A link to a list of current clinical trials is included for each treatment section. For some types or stages of cancer, there may not be any trials listed. Check with your doctor for clinical trials that are not listed here but may be right for you.

    Non-functioning Pituitary Tumors

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    Treatment may include the following:

    • Surgery (transsphenoidal surgery, if possible) to remove the tumor, followed by watchful waiting (closely monitoring a patient's condition without giving any treatment until symptoms appear or change). Radiation therapy is given if the tumor comes back.
    • Radiation therapy alone.

    Treatment for luteinizing hormone -producing and follicle-stimulating hormone -producing tumors is usually transsphenoidal surgery to remove the tumor.

    Prolactin-Producing Pituitary Tumors

    Treatment may include the following:

    • Drug therapy to stop the tumor from making prolactin and to stop the tumor from growing.
    • Surgery to remove the tumor (transsphenoidal surgery or craniotomy) when the tumor does not respond to drug therapy or when the patient cannot take the drug.
    • Radiation therapy.
    • Surgery followed by radiation therapy.

    ACTH-Producing Pituitary Tumors

    Treatment may include the following:

    • Surgery (usually transsphenoidal surgery) to remove the tumor, with or without radiation therapy.
    • Radiation therapy alone.
    • Drug therapy to stop the tumor from making ACTH.
    • A clinical trial of stereotactic radiation surgery.

    Growth Hormone–Producing Pituitary Tumors

    Treatment may include the following:

    • Surgery (usually transsphenoidal or endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery) to remove the tumor, with or without radiation therapy.
    • Drug therapy to stop the tumor from making growth hormone.

    Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone–Producing Tumors

    Treatment may include the following:

    • Surgery (usually transsphenoidal surgery) to remove the tumor, with or without radiation therapy.
    • Drug therapy to stop the tumor from making hormones.

    Pituitary Carcinomas

    Treatment of pituitary carcinomas is palliative, to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life. Treatment may include the following:

    • Surgery (transsphenoidal surgery or craniotomy) to remove the cancer, with or without radiation therapy.
    • Drug therapy to stop the tumor from making hormones.
    • Chemotherapy.

    Recurrent Pituitary Tumors

    Treatment may include the following:

    • Radiation therapy.
    • A clinical trial of stereotactic radiation surgery.

    Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with pituitary tumor. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

      This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

      WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

      Last Updated: February 25, 2014
      This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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