Pediatric Pituitary Adenomas: Early and Long-Term Surgical Outcome in a Series of 85 Consecutive Patients

Neurosurgery. 2019 Jul 1;85(1):65-74. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyy204.


Background: Young age has been reported as a negative prognostic factor for pituitary adenomas (PAs). They are very uncommon in children and adolescents; therefore, surgical outcomes are poorly described.

Objective: To report results of microsurgical transsphenoidal approach (MTSA) in pediatric PAs.

Methods: The study retrospectively analyzed 3040 PAs treated in our institute, according to the adenoma subtype and then divided into pediatric (≤18 yr) and adult groups (>18 yr). The average follow-up after surgery was 58 mo (n = 2906).

Results: In the pediatric group, the majority of adenomas were hormone-secreting (89.5%) with a female sex prevalence (78%) in prolactinomas and nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs); the maximum diameter of growth hormone (GH)-secreting adenomas was greater (28.1 ± 4.1 mm) than in adults (18 ± 0.3 mm, P = .002). Surgical remission rate at 6 mo was similar in both groups for all adenoma subtypes: 72.1% and 76% in pediatric and adult Cushing's disease, 69.3% and 59.3% in prolactinomas, 55.6% and 61% in gigantism or acromegaly, 55.6% and 61.5% in NFPAs. Recurrences after remission occurred more frequently in pediatric GH-secreting adenomas compared to adults (40.0% vs 5.3%, P = .028) despite similar follow-up (38 ± 17 and 48.1 ± 2.2 mo, P = .7). Mortality was zero in the pediatric and 0.2% in the adult group (P = .7); major morbidity was 2.4% and 2.2%, respectively (P = .8).

Conclusion: MTSA was safe and effective in children and adolescents as in adults, with the only exception of higher recurrence rate in pediatric GH-secreting adenomas. No complications related to young age appeared.

Keywords: Pediatric pituitary adenomas; Pituitary tumors; Transsphenoidal surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Acromegaly / surgery
  • Adenoma / surgery*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion / surgery
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome