Surgical management of thyrotropin-secreting pituitary adenomas

Pituitary. 1999 Aug;2(2):127-31. doi: 10.1023/a:1009987530852.


The reported cases of hyperthyroidism due to a TSH-secreting pituitary adenoma have steadily increased in previous years; however, information about the results and long term outcome after pituitary surgery is scanty. Twenty-four patients with a TSH-secreting adenoma underwent pituitary surgery at our department in the last 15 years. Hypersecretion of other pituitary hormones was diagnosed in 7 patients. Three patients were euthyroid at the time of surgery because of previous ablative thyroid therapies. The success rate of surgery strictly depends on the criteria used. Normalization of elevated FT3 and FT4 levels occurred in 17 of the 21 patients with preoperative hyperthyroidism: however, only those with early postoperative undetectable TSH level (12 cases) had no recurrence of disease during follow-up and no residual tumor tissue on postoperative MRI, whereas recurrence of hyperthyroidism occurred in 3 of the 5 patients without postoperative TSH inhibition. All 3 euthyroid patients had a subtotal removal of the tumor, as judged by postoperative MRI. Surgical removal is the therapy of choice of TSH-secreting adenomas, whereas radiotherapy and medical treatment with somatostatin analogues are usually reserved to patients with incomplete tumor removal. A thorough postoperative evaluation is necessary to discriminate between complete and partial remission of disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis
  • Adenoma / metabolism*
  • Adenoma / radiotherapy
  • Adenoma / surgery*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Graves Disease / diagnosis
  • Graves Disease / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / diagnosis
  • Hyperthyroidism / metabolism
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Thyroid Hormones / physiology
  • Thyrotropin / metabolism*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Thyrotropin