Pituitary Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Options for Pituitary Tumors

Non-functioning Pituitary Tumors

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 signs or 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 the list of NCI-supported 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. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI website.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute
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