Congress of Neurological Surgeons Systematic Review and Evidence-Based Guideline for Pretreatment Endocrine Evaluation of Patients With Nonfunctioning Pituitary Adenomas

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Nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs) are among the most common pituitary lesions and may present with hypopituitarism and/or hyperprolactinemia.


To review the existing literature as it pertains to preoperative endocrine assessment in the workup for NFPAs.


A systematic review methodology was utilized to identify and screen articles assessing the role and results of preoperative laboratory assessment in patients with NFPAs. The prevalence of individual pituitary hormonal axis deficiencies was reviewed.


Twenty-nine studies met inclusion criteria for analysis. No class I evidence was available, and all studies met criteria for class II evidence. Baseline serum laboratory assessment showed a prevalence of overall hypopituitarism in 37% to 85% of patients. The most common hormonal axis deficiency was growth hormone deficiency, prevalent in 61% to 100% of patients. The next most common deficit was hypogonadism, seen in 36% to 95% of patients. Adrenal insufficiency was diagnosed in 17% to 62% of patients. Finally, hypothyroidism was seen in 8% to 81% of patients. Hyperprolactinemia was seen in 25% to 65% of patients, with a mean level of 39 ng/mL and with a minority of patients exceeding a serum prolactin level of 200 ng/mL. No evidence supporting routine biomarker testing (eg, α-subunit or chromogranin A) or genetic testing in patients with sporadic NFPAs was available.


Despite a paucity of class I evidence, multiple retrospective studies have demonstrated a high prevalence of hypopituitarism in patients with NFPAs. Routine endocrine analysis of all anterior pituitary axes to assess for hypopituitarism is recommended, with prolactin and insulin-like growth factor 1 evaluation also valuable to assess for hypersecretion states that might not be clinically suspected. The full guidelines document for this chapter can be located at


GH, growth hormone


IGF-1, insulin-like growth factor 1


NFPA, nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma

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