Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Brain Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Nonfunctioning Pituitary Tumors

The selection of treatment for patients with nonfunctioning (endocrine-inactive) tumors will depend on tumor size, the progressive course of the disease, and anatomical structures affected by the tumor extension. The majority of patients present with suprasellar extension and visual field deficits. In addition, many have hormone deficits prior to treatment.Surgical management is typically considered the first choice of treatment for patients with endocrine inactive pituitary adenomas because of its effectiveness in ameliorating symptoms of chiasmal compression and headache.[1] Radical removal of the tumor, however, is difficult to obtain because of the frequent invasiveness into the cavernous sinus. Seventy percent to 80% of patients experience normalization or improvement of visual field defects, and almost 100% of patients with headache as a presenting symptom experience relief. Regrowth of the tumor after radiologically confirmed gross total removal appears to be uncommon. Radiation therapy has been administered routinely in the postoperative period and after clear radiological evidence of residual or recurrent tumor has been demonstrated; drug therapy appears to be of limited value.[1,2,3]

Standard treatment options: [1,2,3]

Recommended Related to Brain Cancer

Treatment Option Overview

There are different types of treatment for patients with central nervous system atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor. Different types of treatment are available for patients with central nervous system atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT). Treatment for AT/RT is usually within a clinical trial. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of...

Read the Treatment Option Overview article > >

  1. Surgery (preferably with a transsphenoidal approach) followed by close observation with radiation therapy reserved for recurrence.
  2. Radiation therapy.
  3. Surgery and postoperative radiation therapy.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with pituitary tumor. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


  1. Losa M, Mortini P, Barzaghi R, et al.: Endocrine inactive and gonadotroph adenomas: diagnosis and management. J Neurooncol 54 (2): 167-77, 2001.
  2. Tsang RW, Brierley JD, Panzarella T, et al.: Radiation therapy for pituitary adenoma: treatment outcome and prognostic factors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 30 (3): 557-65, 1994.
  3. Yeh PJ, Chen JW: Pituitary tumors: surgical and medical management. Surg Oncol 6 (2): 67-92, 1997.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: October 07, 2011
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.

Today on WebMD

human brain xray
Computed Tomography CT Scan Of The Head
Integrative Medicine Cancer Quiz
what is your cancer risk
Health Check

Malignant Gliomas
Pets Improve Your Health
Headache Emergencies
life after a brain tumor

Would you consider trying alternative or complementary therapies?

WebMD Special Sections