Pituitary Metastasis in a Patient with Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma Presenting with a Disturbance of Consciousness


Klin Onkol 2018; 31(5): 371-375. DOI: 10.14735/amko2018371.

Background: Brain metastases are one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality of patients with oncological disease. In non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC), the risk of CNS secondary development is 30–50%. An unusual diagnostic and therapeutic problem is the finding of suspicious pituitary lesions. Obtaining a differential diagnosis relies on evaluating the clinical course of the disease (visual disturbances, diabetes insipidus (DI), weakness etc.), and performing endocrinological examinations and imaging analyses (CT, but mainly MRI). Sometimes, however, definitive resolution of the problem requires histological assessment of the tumor. Case report: A 65-year-old patient with a newly diagnosed metastatic lung adenocarcinoma was admitted to our department for a first cycle of chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin and navelbine. However, at the beginning of hospitalization, the patient developed qualitative disturbances in consciousness and disorientation. Emergency CT of the CNS revealed a tumor of the pituitary gland, and a subsequent MRI showed intraseller and suprasellar masses making contact with the optic chiasma. An endocrinological examination revealed panhypopituitarism. Pituitary metastasis of NSCLC was confirmed by tumor histology using the trans-sphenoid approach. Conclusion: Lung and breast carcinomas are among the most common cancers to metastasize to the pituitary gland. The incidence of pituitary metastases is reported to be 0.4–28.1%. Clinically, they are mostly silent, but may manifest as endocrine disorders, such as DI, hypothyroidism, and hypocorticism, or as visual disturbances due to compression of the optic nerve. Management depends on the establishment of a correct diagnosis.


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