Thyrotrope Adenoma

Target Pituitary

What is a Thyrotrope Adenoma?

A thyrotrope adenoma is a pituitary tumor that makes thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH is normally secreted by the pituitary in order to control thyroid function. However, TSH secretion by these tumors stimulates the thyroid to make excessive thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) leading to hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include tremulousness, weight loss, heat intolerance, diarrhea, anxiety and palpitations. Thyrotrope adenomas are an exceedingly rare type of pituitary tumors. The most common causes of hyperthyroidism are primary thryoid disorders, including Grave's disease and thyroiditis, not pituitary tumors.

Thyrotrope Adenoma Information

Target Pituitary

  • What are the symptoms?

    Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include tremulousness, weight loss, heat intolerance, diarrhea, anxiety and palpitations. In addition, if the tumor is large, patients with thyrotrope adenomas may experience symptoms that any patient with a large tumor in the pituitary area may experience, including headaches, visual loss and/or deficiencies of other pituitary hormones.

  • What are the causes?

    A thyrotrope adenoma is a pituitary tumor that secretes TSH.

  • Complications

    Patients with thyrotrope adenomas may experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including tremulousness, weight loss, heat intolerance, diarrhea, anxiety and palpitations. These are reversible with treatment of the tumor.

  • Preparing for your appointment
    Write down questions to ask your doctor.

    You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in endocrine (hormonal) disorders.

    Special Instructions (If available, please bring):

    • Copies of your medical records/discharge summary/physician notes.
    • A copy of your MRI or CT on a CD.
    • A copy of your lab reports.
    • Bring any medications you are taking with you to your appointment.
    • Please make sure your MGH registration is accurate and up-to-date.

    Our clinic assistants will help you update your hospital registration and insurance information.

    Thank you.

  • How are thyrotrope adenomas diagnosed? ?

    Thyrotrope adenomas are diagnosed with appropriate endocrine testing in conjunction with a pituitary MRI revealing a pituitary tumor. In such cases, usually hormones made by the thyroid (T4 and T3) are elevated, but the TSH levels are not suppressed as would be expected in primary hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism caused by a disorder of the thyroid gland itself, not the pituitary).

  • How are thyrotrope adenomas treated?

    The primary therapy for thyrotrope adenomas is surgery. When surgery does not achieve remission, radiation and/or medical therapy options are available. Somatostatin analogs are the most effective medications currently available for this disorder.

  • What research is being done on thyrotrope adenomas?

    The Neuroendocrine Unit is committed to better understanding pituitary tumors and improving treatment options.

Disclaimer About Medical Information: The information and reference materials contained herein is intended solely for the information of the reader. It should not be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient's own physician. All visitors to this and associated sites from the Neurosurgical Service at MGH agree to read and abide by the the complete terms of legal agreement found at the Neurosurgery "disclaimer & legal agreements."

Physicians' Pituitary Information Service - Physicians with questions may contact Dr. Biller or Dr. Klibanski at 617.726.3965 or 1.888.429.6863 or via e-mail at - :: Research Studies

The Neuroendocrine and Pituitary Tumor Clinical Center
Massachusetts General Hospital
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