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Diagnosis and management of pituitary tumors: recent advances.

Primary Care 2003 December
In recent years, the medical therapy for prolactinomas and GH-secreting adenomas has greatly improved due to the availability of new, highly effective, long-acting dopamine and somatostatin analogues. Although medical therapy has for some time been the first-line approach to prolactinoma management, the incidence of patients requiring surgery for resistance or intolerance/noncompliance is likely to decrease substantially with these new agents. Increasing efficacy and greater ease of administration of somatostatin analogues for GH, and for rare TSH, adenomas are also anticipated to lead to less reliance on surgery and radiation therapy as the primary therapy in these disorders. Although somewhat unclear at this time, GH antagonists hold promise for alternative or adjunct therapy for acromegaly. Given the significant morbidity and mortality associated with acromegaly, these advances are quite encouraging. Unfortunately, little if any progress has been made toward establishing an effective medical treatment for gonadotropin or nonsecreting tumors. However, new approaches to delivery of radiation therapy may reduce some of the inconvenience and risk of this treatment for patients when surgery alone is inadequate. In all of these disorders, the challenge to physicians and their patients remains one of choosing a rational combination of medical, surgical, and radiation therapy. Fortunately, for most patients, control, if not cure, of their pituitary adenoma is a reasonable expectation.

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