Surgical outcomes of prolactinomas in recent era: Results of a heterogenous group

Diane Donegan, John L.D. Atkinson, Mark Jentoft, Neena Natt, Tod B. Nippoldt, Bradley Erickson, Fredric Meyer, Dana Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: Prolactinomas are primarily treated with medical therapy. Given the efficacy of dopamine agonists (DAs), surgery has remained a second-line treatment option. Despite medical therapy, some tumors display resistance and/or patients maybe intolerant of DA and require alternative treatment options. We examined the indications, efficacy, and safety of pituitary surgery for the treatment of prolactinomas. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of all patients who had surgery for a prolactinoma at our institution from January 1993 to October 2014. Results: Seventy-eight patients (46 females, mean age 32 years) with a median follow-up of 12 months were analyzed. Macroprolactinomas accounted for 65% (51/78) of tumors. The most common indication for surgery in microprolactinomas was medication intolerance (37%, 10/27) and medication failure (33%, 17/51) in macroprolactinomas. DA therapy had been tried in 76% (59/78) patients prior to surgery. Following surgery, long-term remission was seen in 72% (18/25) of micro-adenomas and 20% (10/49) of macro-adenomas (32% [10/32] in those without cavernous sinus invasion). Despite persistent disease in those with macro-adenomas (34% [13/38]) were able to remain off medication. Early surgical failure was more common in males (P =.004) and those with large (P≤.001) or atypical (P =.003) adenomas. Conclusion: Surgery can result in prolonged remission in 72% of microprolactinomas. Despite lower remission rates among macroprolactinomas, a third of patients with persistent disease did not require medical therapy. Therefore, surgery remains an alternative effective treatment option, particularly for those who are intolerant or resistant to medical therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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