Pituicytomas: radiological findings, clinical behavior and surgical management

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2012 Apr;154(4):649-57; discussion 657. doi: 10.1007/s00701-011-1235-7. Epub 2011 Nov 26.


Background: Pituicytomas are rare low-grade glial neoplasms originating in the neurohypophysis or infundibulum that appear as solid, noninfiltrative masses occupying the sella turcica, the suprasellar space or both. Due to their high tendency to bleed and the possible firmness and adhesion to surrounding structures, preoperative diagnosis of pituicytoma is a goal for the surgeon, but it is actually a challenge because of the absence of distinctive clinical or neuroradiological findings.

Methods: We report the new cases of three patients who underwent transsphenoidal surgery for suspected pituitary adenomas, which were determined to be pituicytomas at histological and immunohistochemical analysis. We also review previously reported cases of pituicytoma in the literature.

Results: To date, 51 cases of pituicytoma have been reported in addition to our own cases. The natural history and clinical characteristics of this rare tumor are outlined.

Conclusions: Macroscopic aspects are variable, and final diagnosis is made from the typical histological and immunohistochemical pattern. The therapy of choice is gross total surgical resection since subtotal removal can lead to local regrowth, but the time to recurrence is unpredictable and highly variable. The role of adjuvant therapy is currently undefined.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Craniotomy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Pituitary Diseases / pathology*
  • Pituitary Diseases / surgery*
  • Pituitary Gland, Posterior / diagnostic imaging
  • Pituitary Gland, Posterior / pathology*
  • Pituitary Gland, Posterior / surgery*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Radiography