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Papers of the Week

2020 Jan

J Clin Neurosci


Surgical management of clinically silent thyrotropin pituitary adenomas: A single center series of 20 patients.


Cyprich J, Donoho DA, Brunswick A, Hurth K, Carmichael JD, Weiss MH, Zada G
J Clin Neurosci. 2020 Jan; 71:70-75.
PMID: 31668712.


Silent thyrotropin pituitary adenomas (TSHomas) are defined by absence of hyperthyroidism despite TSH immunopositivity. Data pertaining to clinical and surgical characteristics of silent TSHomas remains limited. We aim to describe the clinical presentation, pathological characteristics, and outcomes in silent TSHoma patients treated at a tertiary pituitary center. We retrospectively identified patients with histologically-proven silent TSHoma who underwent transsphenoidal resection at our center between 2000 and 2016 (n = 1244 total patients). Patients with preoperative hyperthyroidism or thyroidectomy were excluded. Twenty patients with silent TSHomas were included (1.6% of surgically treated PAs), of which 35% were reoperations. Presenting symptoms included vision loss (45%) and headache (40%). Preoperative pituitary dysfunction included hypothyroidism (40%), hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (30%), and panhypopituitarism (15%). Nineteen patients (95%) had macroadenomas (mean diameter 29.9 mm). Extrasellar growth was identified in 17 patients (85%) and 65% had cavernous sinus invasion. Immunostaining for alpha-subunit was positive in 19 patients (95%), and 75% of tumors expressed immunopositivity for hormones other than TSH. Gross total tumor resection was achieved in 9 patients (45%) on follow-up MRI. Major postoperative complications included hydrocephalus (1 patient) and cerebrospinal fluid leak with meningitis (1 patient). Tumor progression and recurrence occurred in 1 patient each (10% total) over the follow-up period (median 18.5 months). Silent TSHomas tend to be large, invasive tumors. In addition to TSH, a majority express immunopositivity for alpha-subunit and gonadotropins, thereby potentially supporting a primitive adenoma lineage and subtype. Despite reoperation in several patients, good overall outcomes with low complication rates were achieved.