We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Article |

The Natural History of the Pituitary Incidentaloma

Lois E. Donovan, MD, FRCPC; Bernard Corenblum, MD, FRCPC
Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(2):181-183. doi:10.1001/archinte.1995.00430020067008.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


Background:  The wide availability of computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging has resulted in the discovery of unsuspected endocrinologically silent pituitary masses (incidentalomas). Because the natural history of this entity is not known, the approach to the pituitary incidentaloma has not been established.

Objective:  To determine the natural history of untreated pituitary incidentaloma, recognizing that this includes lesions of various causes.

Methods:  Thirty-one adults with incidentalomas were prospectively followed up conservatively for a mean of 6.4 years (range, 3 to 11 years). Clinical and biochemical assessment, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging of the pituitary, and visual field testing by Goldmann perimetry at baseline, 6 months, and yearly thereafter were the outcomes assessed.

Results:  Only patients with pituitary incidentalomas greater than 10 mm in greatest diameter developed tumor enlargement or complications. Three patients developed asymptomatic tumor enlargement. In four patients, masses decreased in size. Only two patients developed complications. One required subsequent surgery. The only permanent impairment was panhypopituitarism following surgery in this patient.

Conclusions:  Patients with pituitary incidentalomas of unknown causes usually follow a benign course for at least 6 years after discovery. Neurosurgical intervention is not initially required in the management of pituitary incidentalomas, particularly those less than 10 mm, as long as clinical observation can be continued.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:181-183)


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

62 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.