Pituitary apoplexy developed in a patient with androgen insensitivity syndrome

J Endocrinol Invest. 1997 Sep;20(8):497-500. doi: 10.1007/BF03348008.


At the age of 18, our patient was diagnosed as complete androgen insensitivity syndrome(AIS) based on androgen receptor studies in cultured genital skin fibroblasts. Compatible with this diagnosis, both testosterone and LH levels in her plasma were elevated as compared to levels in normal females. Later, the patient had been uneventful until she sought medical attention for headache at the age of 38. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain pointed to pituitary apoplexy. Since her symptoms were not alleviated by conservative therapy, neurosurgical decompression via a transsphenoidal approach was performed. A histopathological examination of a surgical specimen revealed that the pituitary hemorrhage occurred in an LH-producing adenoma. It is likely that the adenoma developed from gonadotroph hyperplasia which could exist in the AIS pituitary. It may be worth noting that this patient has never had a chance of receiving hormonal replacement therapy with estrogen and progesterone. Considering the fact that the majority of AIS patients are treated with gonadal steroids and such a treatment reestablishes an appropriate negative feedback on enhanced LH secretion, it is possible that the lack of hormonal therapy in our patient may have served as a precipitating factor for the apoplectic episode. Although we are not aware of any documented case report of pituitary apoplexy developed in AIS, such a pituitary emergency should be born in mind in the long-term follow-up of patients with AIS. In addition, it is also suggested that the hormonal replacement therapy with gonadal steroids may be recommended for AIS patients not only to endow them with physical characteristics as a woman but also to prevent the development of gonadotroph hyperplasia and possibly also of LH-producing adenoma in the pituitary.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / complications
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adenoma / surgery
  • Adolescent
  • Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome / complications*
  • Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome / etiology
  • Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome / pathology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pituitary Apoplexy / etiology*
  • Pituitary Apoplexy / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / complications
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery


  • Hormones