This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Pituitary tumours

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Pituitary adenomas account for between 5% and 10% of intracranial tumours and present as a result of their endocrine effects or because of the compression of the visual pathways.

An asymmetric tumour growth may lead to predominantly uniocular visual loss due to optic nerve involvement, with a minor field loss in the other eye - often upper temporal.

Pituitary microadenomas may be associated with headache and may ultimately expand to cause chiasmal compression.

Approximately half of patients diagnosed with pituitary adenomas have microadenomas (<10 mm in size) and half have macroadenomas (≥10 mm).

Pituitary adenomas are classified as functioning (70%) or nonfunctioning (30%):

  • Functioning pituitary adenomas
    • approximately 50% of functioning pituitary adenomas produce excess prolactin
      • possible clinical features associated with hyperprolactinaemia include:
        • amenorrhoea
        • female infertility
        • vaginal dryness
        • low male libido
        • low male testosterone levels, and erectile dysfunction
    • pituitary adenomas can result in increased production of growth hormone resulting in acromegaly
    • pituitary adenomas can cause hypercorticalism (Cushing's syndrome)
    • pituitary adenomas with excess secretion of thyrotropin can result in hyperthyroidism

Nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas produce clinical features as a result of growth and compression of neighbouring structures e.g. compression of the optic chiasm.


  • Tritos NA, Miller KK. Diagnosis and management of pituitary adenomas: a review. JAMA. 2023;329(16):1386-1398.

Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Annotations allow you to add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation. E.g. a website or number. This information will always show when you visit this page.

The content herein is provided for informational purposes and does not replace the need to apply professional clinical judgement when diagnosing or treating any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.


Copyright 2024 Oxbridge Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of OmniaMed Communications Limited. All rights reserved. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence.