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October 1976

Prolactin-Secreting Pituitary Tumor in Early AdolescenceHormonal and Electron Microscopical Studies

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Hawaii School of Medicine and the Fronk Clinic, Honolulu.

Arch Intern Med. 1976;136(10):1164-1168. doi:10.1001/archinte.1976.03630100076020

A 13-year-old boy was evaluated for an enlarged sella. There were no consistent visual field defects, and carotid arteriograms and pneumoencephalograms showed no extrasellar abnormality. The endocrine workup demonstrated a subnormal growth hormone reserve. The only other, but most striking abnormality, was an excessively high serum prolactin level, which was partially suppressed with levodopa. A chromophobe pituitary tumor was removed that had histological features suggestive of malignant neoplasm. Characteristics of a prolactin-secreting tumor were confirmed by electron microscopy. The serum prolactin levels decreased substantially after surgery and further after a course of pituitary irradiation; however, they continue to be elevated above normal. Prolactin determinations play an integral part in the evaluation for a possible pituitary tumor—not only for diagnostic purposes, but also to provide a parameter of future tumor activity in an established case. Electron microscopical studies are helpful in identifying the tumor as source of the excessive prolactin secretion.

(Arch Intern Med 136:1164-1168, 1976)