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Are nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas extending into the cavernous sinus aggressive and/or invasive?

, : Are nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas extending into the cavernous sinus aggressive and/or invasive?. Neurosurgery 49(4): 857-62; Discussion 862-3

OBJECTIVE: We studied nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas extending to the cavernous sinus to gain insight into the discrepancy between their histologically benign nature and frequent extension into the cavernous sinus. METHODS: We studied 10 patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas that completely encircled the cavernous carotid artery (extension group). All 10 patients underwent surgery to remove intrasellar and/or suprasellar parts of the adenomas. Ten patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas without cavernous sinus extension comprised the control group. Tumor size follow-up data were obtained by magnetic resonance imaging. Immunostaining was performed for Ki-67, cathepsin B, and matrix metalloprotainase-9. To assess the wall thickness, 10 cavernous sinuses were removed from the cranial base of adult cadavers, and the walls were examined histologically. RESULTS: Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated no remarkable growth in most of the patients during the follow-up period (mean, 65.8 mo). There was no statistical difference in Ki-67, cathepsin B, and matrix metalloprotainase-9 immunostaining between the extension group and the control group. The cadaver study demonstrated that the medial wall was significantly thinner than the superior and the lateral walls (P < 0.0005). We found small defects in the capsule histologically in 3 of 30 sections. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that most of nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas extending into the cavernous sinus are neither aggressive nor invasive. The high incidence of cavernous sinus extension of benign adenomas may be caused by the weakness of the medial wall of the cavernous sinus.


PMID: 11564246

DOI: 10.1097/00006123-200110000-00014

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