Giant prolactinomas presenting as skull base tumors

Giuseppe Minniti, Marie Lise Jaffrain-Rea, Antonio Santoro, Vincenzo Esposito, Luigi Ferrante, Roberto Delfini, Giampaolo Cantore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Prolactinomas invading the skull base are rare, and could easily be confused with skull base tumors of nonpituitary origin. Case description. We report a series of 4 cases of giant prolactinomas invading the skull base and presenting with atypical symptoms. Case 1 presented with a short history of headache and nasal obstruction. Case 2 presented with progressive hypoacusia, dizziness, and ophthalmoplegia. In Case 3, the patient developed rapid progressive visual failure and psychiatric symptoms. Case 4 presented with a 1-year history of headache and retrorbital pain. The diagnosis of prolactinoma was made on the basis of tumor immunohistochemistry and/or high plasma prolactin levels (range from 650-6,500 ng/mL). Medical treatment with the dopamine agonist cabergoline was given; it was effective in normalizing prolactin levels and inducing tumor shrinkage. Conclusion. Prolactin levels should be measured in all large skull base tumors involving the pituitary region before any surgery or inappropriate radiotherapy is performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-103
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Cabergoline
  • Dopamine agonist
  • Prolactinoma
  • Skull base

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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