The optimal interval for follow-up imaging of patients with prolactinomas is unclear. We wish to determine the likelihood of tumor enlargement in patients with prolactinomas who have a stable or reduced prolactin (PRL) level over time, whether or not they are treated with a dopamine agonist (DA). We identified 80 patients with prolactinomas (34 men, 46 women) who had at least two paired sets of serum PRL levels and pituitary MRIs, 3 or more months apart. Patients with hyperprolactinemia due to drug or stalk effects were excluded. The median (range) age was 45 (25-77) years. Sixty-three patients (78.8 %) were treated with DA. PRL levels (ng/mL) at the initial and latest sets were 114 (0.3-15,732) and 16 (0.3-1,204), respectively. In patients with identifiable tumors, the maximum tumor diameters (mm) at the initial and latest MRI studies were 12.5 (2-60) and 12.5 (2-39) respectively, with an interval of 2.9 (0.3-9.7) years. Sixty percent of patients (n = 48) had a macroadenoma. Forty-two (52.5 %) patients had either disappearance of the tumor (n = 22) or reduction (n = 20) in tumor size. In the remainder, tumor size was stable in 35 but increased in 3 patients. One of these patients, observed off therapy had a concomitant rise in PRL level. The other 2 had evidence of pituitary hemorrhage with no PRL increase. Tumor growth in prolactinoma patients with a stable or decreasing PRL level, regardless of size, is a rare event. Repetitive pituitary imaging in these patients may not be warranted.
- Tumor size
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism