Endoscopic approach for giant pituitary adenoma: clinical outcomes of 205 patients and comparison of two proposed classification systems for preoperative prediction of extent of resection

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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery and Pituitary Research Center,
  • | 2 Endocrinology,
  • | 3 Radiology, and
  • | 4 Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, Kocaeli University School of Medicine, Kocaeli, Turkey
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OBJECTIVE

Giant pituitary adenoma is considered a challenging pathology for surgery owing to its complications and low resection rate. In this study, the authors present their experience of using the endoscopic endonasal approach to treat patients with giant pituitary adenoma, and they aimed to develop a classification system for prediction of extent of resection.

METHODS

The institutional medical records of patients diagnosed with giant pituitary adenoma who underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery between August 1997 and December 2019 were retrospectively reviewed. Surgical and clinical outcomes were evaluated in detail. The effects of tumor characteristics on extent of resection were analyzed. The findings were used to develop two classification systems that could preoperatively predict extent of resection. Morphological score was based on tumor characteristics, and landmark-based classification was defined according to surgical zones based on neurovascular landmarks. The effects of change in surgical strategy, which aimed to maximize tumor resection and capsule dissection, on rates of resection and complications were evaluated before and after 2017.

RESULTS

This study included 205 patients, with a mean patient age of 46.95 years and mean preoperative tumor diameter of 46.56 mm. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 35.12% of patients, near-total resection (NTR) in 39.51%, and subtotal resection (STR) in 25.36%. Extent of resection differed significantly between the grades and zones of the classification systems (p < 0.001 for both). Among patients with grade 3 tumor, 75.75% of patients achieved STR, 21.21% achieved NTR, and 3.03% achieved GTR. Among patients with zone 3 tumor, 65.75% achieved STR, 32.87% achieved NTR, and 1.36% achieved GTR. Both grade 3 and zone 3 indicated limited extent of resection. The mean (range) follow-up duration was 50.16 (9–247) months. Postoperative recovery of at least one hormone axis was seen in 15.24% of patients with pituitary deficiency, and development of new hormonal deficiency was observed in 22.43% of patients. Complications included permanent diabetes insipidus (7.80%), cerebrospinal fluid leakage (3.90%), postoperative apoplexy (3.90%), meningitis (3.41%), and epistaxis (3.41%). The surgical mortality rate was 1.46%. Among 85 patients treated before 2017, 27.05% of patients achieved GTR, 37.64% achieved NTR, and 35.29% achieved STR; among 120 patients treated after 2017, 40.83% achieved GTR, 40.83% achieved NTR, and 18.33% achieved STR. Seven patients in the pre-2017 cohort had postoperative apoplexy versus only 1 patient in the post-2017 cohort. There were no statistically significant differences between the two periods in terms of the incidence rates of other complications.

CONCLUSIONS

Capsule dissection and GTR are valuable for preventing serious complications and reducing recurrence of giant adenoma. Treatment of giant pituitary adenoma may be better managed with the help of a classification system that provides information about extent of resection that can be achieved with an endoscopic approach.

ABBREVIATIONS

ACTH = adrenocorticotropic hormone; DI = diabetes insipidus; GH = growth hormone; GTR = gross-total resection; NTR = near-total resection; PRL = prolactin; STR = subtotal resection; TSH = thyroid-stimulating hormone; VF = visual field.

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