Pituitary Carcinoma: Difficult Diagnosis and Treatment

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Although pituitary tumors are common, pituitary carcinoma is very rare and is only diagnosed when pituitary tumor noncontiguous with the sellar region is demonstrated. Diagnosis is difficult, resulting in delays that may adversely effect outcome that is traditionally poor. Barriers to earlier diagnosis and management strategies for pituitary carcinoma are discussed.

Evidence Acquisition:

PubMed was employed to identify relevant studies, a review of the literature was conducted, and data were summarized and integrated from the author's perspective.

Evidence Synthesis:

The available data highlight the difficulties in diagnosis and management and practical challenges in conducting clinical trials in this rare condition. They suggest that earlier diagnosis with aggressive multimodal therapy may be advantageous in some cases.


Although pituitary carcinoma remains difficult to diagnose and treat, recent developments have led to improved outcomes in selected cases. With broader use of molecular markers, efforts to modify current histopathological criteria for pituitary carcinoma diagnosis may now be possible. This would assist earlier diagnosis and, in combination with targeted therapies, potentially improve long-term survival.

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