Prediction of recurrence in solid nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas: additional benefits of diffusion-weighted MR imaging

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A subset of benign, nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas (NFMAs) has been shown to undergo early progression/recurrence (P/R) during the first years after surgical resection. The aim of this study was to determine preoperative MR imaging features for the prediction of P/R in benign solid NFMAs, with emphasis on apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values.


We retrospectively investigated the preoperative MR imaging features for the prediction of P/R in benign solid NFMAs. Only the patients who had undergone preoperative MRI and postoperative MRI follow-ups for more than 1 year (at least every 6–12 months) were included. From November 2010 to December 2016, a total of 30 patients diagnosed with benign solid NFMAs were included (median follow-up time 45 months), and 19 (63.3%) patients had P/R (median time to P/R 24 months).


Benign solid NFMAs with cavernous sinus invasion, failed chiasmatic decompression, large tumor height and tumor volume, high diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) signal, and lower ADC values/ratios were significantly associated with P/R (p < 0.05). The cutoff points of ADC value and ADC ratio for prediction of P/R are 0.77 × 10−3 mm2/sec and 1.01, respectively, with area under the curve (AUC) values (0.9 and 0.91) (p < 0.01). In multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis, low ADC value (< 0.77 × 10−3 mm2/sec) is a high-risk factor of P/R (p < 0.05) with a hazard ratio of 14.07.


Benign solid NFMAs with low ADC values/ratios are at a significantly increased risk of P/R, and aggressive treatments accompanied by close follow-up with imaging studies should be considered.

ABBREVIATIONS ADC = apparent diffusion coefficient; AUC = area under the curve; CE = contrast enhanced; DWI = diffusion-weighted imaging; GTR = gross-total resection; NACP = normal-appearing central pons; NFMA = nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenoma; PFS = progression-free survival; P/R = progression/recurrence; ROC = receiver operating characteristic; ROI = region of interest; RT = radiotherapy; STR = subtotal resection; TSA = transsphenoidal approach; T1WI = T1-weighted imaging.

Supplementary Materials

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