What are Pituitary Tumours

The pituitary gland, often referred to as the “master gland,” plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions by producing hormones. Here’s an overview of the pituitary gland, its functions, and the types of tumors that can develop in it:

Anatomy and Function:

  • Location: The pituitary gland is a small, pea-sized structure located at the base of the brain, attached to the hypothalamus by a thin stalk.
  • Hormonal Regulation: It produces hormones that regulate several bodily functions, including thyroid function, sex hormone production, adrenaline release, growth, breast milk production, and water balance.

Pituitary Tumors:

  • Characteristics: Pituitary tumors are usually small and slow-growing, originating from hormone-producing cells in the gland.
  • Benign Nature: Most pituitary tumors are benign (noncancerous) but can cause significant symptoms due to hormone overproduction or pressure on nearby structures.
  • Classification: Pituitary tumors are classified into four main types based on their hormone secretion:
  1. ACTH-Producing Tumor: Also known as basophilic adrenocorticotrophic hormone or ACTH-producing adenoma, it stimulates excessive production of adrenal hormones, leading to various symptoms.
  2. Prolactin-Producing Tumor: This tumor overproduces the hormone prolactin, leading to milk production in the breasts. It can cause enlargement of the sella turcica.
  3. Growth Hormone-Producing Tumor: Also known as eosinophilic growth hormone-secreting adenoma, it releases excessive growth hormone, causing gigantism in children and acromegaly in adults.
  4. Non-Functioning Pituitary Tumor: Also called hormonally inactive adenoma, this tumor does not produce pituitary hormones initially, leading to slow symptom development. It can grow large before detection, often causing pressure-related issues on nearby structures.

Symptoms and Diagnosis:

  • Symptoms: Pituitary tumors can cause a range of symptoms depending on their size and hormone secretion, including headaches, vision changes, hormonal imbalances, and growth abnormalities.
  • Diagnosis: Diagnosis involves imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans, hormone level tests, and sometimes biopsy to determine the type and nature of the tumor.


  • Treatment Options: Treatment depends on the type, size, and location of the tumor, as well as the patient’s overall health. Options may include medication, surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, or a combination of these approaches.
  • Monitoring: Regular monitoring and follow-up care are essential to assess tumor growth, hormone levels, and treatment effectiveness.

Pituitary tumors, while often benign, can significantly impact health and quality of life. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate management are crucial for optimal outcomes and symptom control.