Clinical features of symptomatic Rathke's cleft cyst

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2001 Jul;103(2):96-100. doi: 10.1016/s0303-8467(01)00121-4.


To investigate the clinical features of Rathke's cleft cysts (RCCs), we retrospectively analyzed 15 cases with histologically confirmed RCCs. All patients underwent formal testing of visual field, endocrinological evaluation and magnetic resonance imagings. As overall presenting symptoms, endocrine disturbance was the most common symptoms, followed by visual disturbance and headache. Among the endocrine disturbances based on adenohypophysial dysfunction, hyperprolactinemia was most common. Considering the size of RCCs, RCCs could induce hyperprolactinemia only when the cysts became large enough to compress the infundibular system. Our series showed relative high incidence of pituitary dwarfism and diabetes insipidus (DI). These facts indicated that RCCs could evoke hyposecretion of growth hormone in young patients and DI in aged patients by direct compression of the pituitary gland in the early stage of progression. All cases who had headache had no other symptoms. We could not prove the evidence that RCCs could induce headaches in these cases. This might be suggested that headache could not be a sole symptom in cases of RCCs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Central Nervous System Cysts / diagnosis
  • Central Nervous System Cysts / surgery*
  • Diabetes Insipidus / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Progression
  • Dwarfism, Pituitary / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperprolactinemia / etiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Gland / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies