Suprasellar granular cell tumor of the neurohypophysis in a child: unusual presentation in pediatric age of a rare tumor

Childs Nerv Syst. 2013 Jun;29(6):1031-4. doi: 10.1007/s00381-013-2062-3.


Purpose: Granular cell tumors (GCT) of the neurohypophysis are rare, solitary, nodular-shaped lesions, mostly presenting in the adult age with a female predilection. They rarely grow to a sufficient size to cause mass effect related symptoms and they may be found in most cases incidentally at autopsy of older patients. Few cases of symptomatic GCT of the neurohypophysis have been reported in the literature and only one of these in a pediatric patient in the first decade of life, who presented with central precocious puberty.

Methods: We report the case of a 11-year-old boy with a large suprasellar GCT of the neurohypophysis, complaining severe headache and pituitary insufficiency. Before our referral, the child was operated at another insitution through a pterional approach for tumor biopsy and underwent chemotherapy because of the misleading diagnosis of glioma.

Results: The patient was operated on by a fronto-orbito-zygomatic approach with subtotal tumor resection. At last follow-up examination, a partial hypopituitarism was detected. The quality of life with replacement therapy was excellent. Fractionated radiotherapy on tumor remnant was advised.

Conclusions: The reported case is exceptional because the tumor developed in a male pediatric patient, causing clinical symptoms related to intracranial hypertension and unusual endocrinological features. GCT has to be considered in the differential diagnosis of suprasellar masses, to avoid misleading interpretation and consequent wrong therapeutic management.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / metabolism
  • Child
  • Granular Cell Tumor / pathology*
  • Granular Cell Tumor / surgery
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pituitary Gland, Posterior / pathology*
  • Pituitary Gland, Posterior / surgery
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery
  • Postoperative Period
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone