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01.12.2012 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

World Journal of Surgical Oncology 1/2012

Breast cancer metastatic to the pituitary gland: a case report

World Journal of Surgical Oncology > Ausgabe 1/2012
Gian Paolo Spinelli, Giuseppe Lo Russo, Evelina Miele, Natalie Prinzi, Federica Tomao, Manila Antonelli, Felice Giangaspero, Valeria Stati, Martina Strudel, Silverio Tomao
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1477-7819-10-137) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

GPS, GLR, EM and ST conceived of the study. NP, FT, VS, and MS participated in study design and clinical data collection. MA and FG carried out the histopathological evaluation. GPS, GLR and EM drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Metastases to the pituitary gland are rare events, and usually indicate widespread malignant disease. The lung and the breast are the most common sites of primary tumors that metastasize to the pituitary gland.
Metastases are more frequent in older patients and the most common symptoms at presentation are diabetes insipidus and visual alterations.

Case presentation

72-year-old white woman was treated for a breast carcinoma with right superoexternal quadrantectomy, radiotherapy, and hormone therapy. Twelve years later, the patient presented with bone pain, bilateral progressive visual decline, and onset of hypopituitarism. A diagnosis of secondary bone involvement and pituitary metastasis was made.


This was an unusual disease course, and stresses the importance of intensive follow-up in patients with breast cancer even many years after the initial diagnosis This case emphasizes that diagnosis can be difficultand controversial when relapse occurs at uncommon sites.
Authors’ original file for figure 1
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