Prolactinomas in children and adolescents. Clinical presentation and long-term follow-up

Annamaria Colao, Sandro Loche, Marco Cappa, Antonella Di Sarno, Maria Luisa Landi, Francesca Sarnacchiaro, Giuseppina Facciolli, Gaetano Lombardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we report the clinical presentation, response to medical treatment, and long, term follow-up of 26 patients with prolactinoma (15 macro- and 11 micro-adenomas) diagnosed at the age of 7-17 yr. All patients were first treated with bromocriptine (BRC) at doses ranging from 2.5-20 mg/day orally. BRC was discontinued for intolerance and/or resistance to the drug and was replaced by quinagolide (CV) at doses ranging from 0.075-0.6 mg/day or by cabergoline at doses ranging from 0.5-3.5 mg/week orally. Two patients received external conventional radiotherapy after surgery. In 7 prepubertal males and 6 females with macroprolactinoma, headache and/or visual defects were the first symptoms. All females presented with primary or secondary amenorrhea. Growth arrest was observed in a male patient with microadenoma, whereas all the remaining patients had normal heights, and pubertal development was appropriate for their age. Spontaneous or provocative galactorrhea was observed in 12 patients (3 males and 9 females) and gynecomastia in 4 males. Mean serum PRL concentration (±SE) at the time of diagnosis was 1080 ± 267 μg/L in patients with macroadenoma and 155 ± 38 μg/L in patients with microadenoma. In 10 patients, BRC normalized PRL levels and caused variable, but significant, tumor shrinkage. CV normalized PRL concentrations and reduced tumor size in 5 patients: Cabergoline normalized PRL concentrations in 7 of 10 patients resistant to CV. Pregnancy occurred in 2 patients while on treatment. Pregnancies were uncomplicated, and the patients delivered normal newborns at term. Only 4 patients are still moderately hyperprolactinemic. Impairment of other pituitary hormone secretion was documented at the time of diagnosis in 7 patients, 5 of whom underwent surgery. Four patients became GH deficient in adult age. In conclusion, the medical treatment with dopaminergic compounds is effective and safe in patients with prolactinoma with onset in childhood, allowing preservation of the anterior pituitary function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2777-2780
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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