Object. The diagnosis and treatment of metastasis to the pituitary gland can be difficult to determine. The goal of this study was to analyze the clinical presentation, treatment, and prognosis of patients who presented with symptomatic pituitary metastasis.
Methods. The cases of 36 patients with symptomatic pituitary metastases were reviewed. The most common primary cancers were breast (33%) and lung (36%). The presenting symptoms included diabetes insipidus, anterior pituitary insufficiency, and retroorbital pain. The overall median length of patient survival following diagnosis of pituitary metastasis was 180 days. In 20 patients (56%), symptoms stemming from pituitary metastasis were the first manifestation of illness. Local control of tumor was associated with significant improvement in survival times (p < 0.05) and amelioration of disabling symptoms including painful ophthalmoplegia and visual field deficits.
Conclusions. Aggressive treatment including both surgical decompression and radiation therapy improves the quality of life in patients suffering from symptomatic pituitary metastasis.