Pseudotumoral lymphocytic hypophysitis successfully treated by corticosteroid alone: first case report

Neurosurgery. 1994 Sep;35(3):505-8; discussion 508. doi: 10.1227/00006123-199409000-00020.


We report the first case of pseudotumoral lymphocytic hypophysitis successfully treated by corticosteroids without surgery. A 27-year-old woman had been monitored for chronic headache 13 months after giving birth, associated with amenorrhea and galactorrhea. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging revealed a markedly enlarged pituitary gland with a suprasellar extension; the only biochemical abnormality was a mild hyperprolactinemia. Because of a putative diagnosis of prolactinoma, bromocriptine was prescribed at a dose of 5 mg daily, soon followed by the transitory appearance of menstruation. Two years later, panhypopituitarism was present and was revealed by acute adrenal insufficiency. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed that the pituitary mass was the same as previously described, but hormonal investigation showed evidence of complete hypopituitarism and no hyperprolactinemia. Nuclear antibodies were negative as well as other autoantibodies. Human leukocyte antigen serological Class II typing was DR3/DR4. Lymphocytic hypophysitis was then suspected; in the absence of visual complication and because this patient refused surgery, corticosteroids were attempted at a daily dose of 60 mg of prednisone for 3 months, progressively decreased for the next 6 months. Under this treatment, a gradual recovery of all pituitary hormones was observed and magnetic resonance imaging showed a reduction of two-thirds in pituitary mass. Five months after the end of corticoid treatment, our patient relapsed with panhypopituitarism and an increase of pituitary volume. She underwent steroid treatment, and a biopsy was performed and confirmed the diagnosis of autoimmune hypophysitis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Biopsy
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytosis / diagnosis
  • Lymphocytosis / drug therapy*
  • Lymphocytosis / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pituitary Diseases / diagnosis
  • Pituitary Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Pituitary Diseases / pathology
  • Pituitary Function Tests
  • Pituitary Gland / pathology
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage*
  • Recurrence


  • Prednisone