Pituicytoma is a rare type of benign brain tumor that is thought to originate from cells of the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland.

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About This Condition

Understanding Pituicytomas

What is pituicytoma?

Pituicytoma is a rare type of brain tumor that originates from cells in the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Typically diagnosed through an MRI, these tumors grow very slowly and produce relatively mild symptoms often connected to other less serious conditions. Pituicytomas are typically benign and do not spread to other areas of the body.

What causes pituicytoma?

In the human body, genetic material repeatedly copies as our cells divide. When errors occur during this process—in specific locations within the body—there can be a failure at the cellular level along with unchecked cellular growth, which results in tumors like pituicytomas.

What are the symptoms of pituicytoma?

Symptoms of pituicytoma often relate to the close proximity of the tumor to the eye and pituitary gland, sometimes causing visual dysfunction and endocrine or hormonal disturbances. Symptoms may include:

  • Double or blurred vision.
  • Loss of side (peripheral) vision.
  • Vision loss.
  • Headaches.
  • Dizziness.
  • Upset stomach (nausea).
  • Weakness.
  • Unwanted weight gain or loss.
  • Loss of menstrual periods.
  • Impotence.
  • Loss of sexual desire.

Who is at risk for pituicytoma?

Patients with a specific pattern of visual deterioration, known as bitemporal hemianopsia, should be evaluated by their eye doctor for pituicytoma.

How is a pituicytoma diagnosed?

Pituicytoma is typically diagnosed after an MRI of the brain has been obtained for an unrelated symptom, like headaches, or when a patient presents with symptoms associated with the condition.

How is the conditions treated?

For patients diagnosed with pituicytoma, surgical removal of the tumor is often the most effective treatment option. Brain tumor experts at UC Health use a leading-edge, minimally invasive surgical procedure called an endonasal approach to remove the tumor through the nasal cavity. This less invasive option to tradition surgery means a shorter recovery time for the patient and is curative in most cases.

When should a person call their healthcare provider?

Patients should call their healthcare provider right away if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • New loss of vision or double vision.
  • Severe headache refractory to medication.
  • Extensive urination with or without dehydration.

UC Health is happy to provide a second opinion for any patients diagnosed with brain or pituitary tumors.

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