Autoimmune Hypophysitis Presenting as Solid-Cystic Mass Managed Conservatively
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Publication date: 2018-02-02
Pol J Radiol, 2017; 82: 473-477
Background: Autoimmune hypophysitis (AH) is a rare inflammatory condition of the pituitary gland and usually affects women of childbearing age. It commonly leads to pituitary dysfunction. Moreover, pituitary enlargement may lead to compressive symptoms, which necessitates urgent surgical decompression. Resection of the pituitary gland causes iatrogenic hypopituitarism which requires lifelong hormonal supplementation. With an increasing number of suspected cases of pituitary diseases, there has been a paradigm shift in the management by conservative measures, especially, when surgery is not urgently needed.
Case Report: We report a case of AH in a premenopausal woman presenting with headache. MRI revealed a solid-cystic mass involving the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. The infundibulum was also thickened and enhancing; however, it was still in the midline. Ancillary MRI findings and hormonal profile were favouring the diagnosis of AH over pituitary neoplasm. The patient was managed conservatively with high doses of glucocorticoids, which resulted in prompt resolution of the lesion. During subsequent follow-up over 6 years, there was no recurrence and partial restoration of the pituitary function was seen. This case is interesting due to an unusual MRI appearance of AH, presenting as a solid-cystic mass. Moreover, disease resolution with conservative treatment strengthens the approach to limit surgery to those patients with compressive symptoms or uncertain diagnosis.
Conclusions: AH should be included in the differential diagnosis of solid-cystic pituitary masses along with clinical correlation, which includes early involvement of ACTH and TSH and a relatively rapid development of hypopituitarism. In uncertain cases or with lack of compressive symptoms, a trial of steroids is worthwhile.
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