Ectopic GH-secreting pituitary adenoma of the clivus: systematic literature review of a challenging tumour

Lucia Riccio, Carmine Antonio Donofrio, Giovanni Tomacelli, Roberto De Blasi, Alessandro Melatini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: Acromegaly is usually due to growth hormone (GH)-secreting pituitary adenomas, but it may be exceptionally caused by GH-secreting ectopic pituitary adenomas (EPA). EPA are defined as extra-sellar pituitary tumours, extra- or intra-cranially sited, entirely separated from the pituitary stalk and gland. The aim of the study is to address the challenges in the management of clival GHEPA. Methods: We reported a case of a 53-year-old acromegalic patient with a primary clival GHEPA and reviewed systematically the relevant English literature between 1975 and 2019, in keeping with the PRISMA guidelines. Results: Four cases of primary clival GHEPA have been described in literature apart from ours. All patients presented with acromegalic features, elevated circulating GH and/or insulin-like growth factor-1 levels. Hyperprolactinemia and empty sella were described in two cases, respectively. These tumours show the typical imaging characteristics of pituitary adenomas, but their neuroradiological diagnosis may be challenging due to their sizes and the difficulty in defining the absence of connections with the pituitary fossa. Conclusion: Although primary clival GHEPA are exceedingly rare, even if likely under-reported in literature, they should be considered in the differential diagnosis of clival tumours because of their specific management. Surgery represents the first-line treatment option, while medical and radiation therapies can be adopted as neo-adjuvant, adjuvant or primary treatments according to tumour and patient characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-466
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Acromegaly
  • Clival tumours
  • Ectopic pituitary adenoma
  • Growth hormone
  • Growth hormone-secreting adenoma
  • Rare tumours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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