Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Pituitary Tumors Treatment (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version
Last Modified: 07/27/2012

Pituitary Carcinomas Treatment

Standard Treatment Options for Pituitary Carcinomas
Current Clinical Trials



Standard Treatment Options for Pituitary Carcinomas

Standard treatment options for pituitary carcinomas include the following:

  1. Surgery.
  2. Dopamine agonists, such as bromocriptine, pergolide, quinagolide, and cabergoline, for prolactin (PRL)-producing carcinomas.
  3. Somatostatin analogues, such as octreotide, for growth hormone (GH)-producing and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)-producing carcinomas.
  4. Adjuvant radiation therapy, which does not appear to change the disease's outcome.
  5. Chemotherapy, which is of little benefit.

Some reports indicate that as many as 88% of pituitary carcinomas are endocrinologically active, and adrenocorticotrophin hormone-secreting tumors are the most common.[1] Treatments for patients with pituitary carcinomas are palliative, with the mean survival time ranging from 2 years to 2.4 years, though several case reports of long-term survivors have been published.[2-5]

Treatment options for patients with pituitary carcinomas include resection and dopamine agonists for PRL-producing tumors; somatostatin analogues for GH-producing and TSH-producing tumors; radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.[1] These treatments are palliative with the mean survival time ranging from 2 years to 2.4 years, though several case reports of long-term survivors have been published.[2-5]

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.

References
  1. Ragel BT, Couldwell WT: Pituitary carcinoma: a review of the literature. Neurosurg Focus 16 (4): E7, 2004.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  2. Pernicone PJ, Scheithauer BW, Sebo TJ, et al.: Pituitary carcinoma: a clinicopathologic study of 15 cases. Cancer 79 (4): 804-12, 1997.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  3. Sironi M, Cenacchi G, Cozzi L, et al.: Progression on metastatic neuroendocrine carcinoma from a recurrent prolactinoma: a case report. J Clin Pathol 55 (2): 148-51, 2002.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  4. Landman RE, Horwith M, Peterson RE, et al.: Long-term survival with ACTH-secreting carcinoma of the pituitary: a case report and review of the literature. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 87 (7): 3084-9, 2002.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  5. Vaquero J, Herrero J, Cincu R: Late development of frontal prolactinoma after resection of pituitary tumor. J Neurooncol 64 (3): 255-8, 2003.  [PUBMED Abstract]