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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Prognosis

The outlook depends on the type of pituitary tumor, the size of tumor at the time of diagnosis and the extent of injury to the optic nerves and other parts of the body:

  • ACTH-producing tumor After surgery, the cure rate is 80% to 90% for ACTH-producing tumors that have not enlarged beyond the sella turcica. If the tumor cannot be completely removed surgically, radiation therapy is often successful.

  • Prolactin-producing tumor Medical treatment is safe and effective in the great majority of cases, even when the tumor is fairly large. In women of childbearing age whose periods disappear because of a prolactin-producing pituitary tumor, medical treatment often restores fertility. When surgery is needed, success rates are very high.

  • Growth hormone-producing tumor Approximately 60% of tumors can be cured with surgery. In people treated medically, octreotide relieves symptoms in most cases.

  • Non-functioning pituitary tumor The outlook depends on the size of the tumor. People with small tumors that do not need immedaite treatment or can be completely removed with surgery have an excellent prognosis. Even for large tumors that interferre with vision, surgery can stop further deterioration of vision.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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