Longitudinal evaluation of patients with untreated prolactin-secreting pituitary adenomas

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1981 Apr 1;139(7):835-44. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(81)90553-6.


A group of 43 patients with galactorrhea, hyperprolactinemia, and radiographic evidence of pituitary adenomas were followed from 3 to 20 years. Initial polytomography and computerized tomographic (CT) scans revealed no evidence of extrasellar extension. Serum levels of prolactin (PRL) were measured at 6 month intervals, and visual fields were assessed annually. Polytomograms and CT scans were repeated every 9 to 36 months. During the period of follow-up, CT scans (but not polytomograms) indicated tumor enlargement in two patients, both of whom underwent selective transsphenoidal removal of the tumor. Polytomograms and CT scans did not show any change in the other 41 patients, and three of them have resumed normal menses, are no longer lactating, and have normal PRL levels. The initial results of this ongoing study indicate that most patients with small pituitary adenomas can be followed with annual CT scans with or without medical therapy, and that surgical treatment should be reserved for those patients with large tumors, those with visual-field loss, and those who show signs of enlargement of the tumor.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / complications
  • Adenoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenoma / metabolism*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Galactorrhea / etiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / complications
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Prolactin / metabolism*
  • Radiography
  • Sella Turcica / diagnostic imaging


  • Prolactin