Main causes of pituitary stalk thickening

Main causes of pituitary stalk thickening

The spectrum of pituitary diseases is diverse and includes lesions that arise from the pituitary stalk or from pituitary/hypothalamic–associated tumors. The four main causes of pituitary stalk abnormalities include: congenital, inflammatory, infectious, and neoplastic etiologies.

The spectrum of pituitary stalk lesions differs between children and adults, and between those with and those without diabetes insipidus. Congenital stalk abnormalities, germ cell tumors, and Langerhans cell histiocytosis are most likely to manifest during childhood and adolescence. Conversely, hypophysitis and many neoplasms typically present in young to middle-aged adults (age 21–65 years). Lastly, metastases to the pituitary gland from a wide variety of solid organ malignancies (e.g., breast, lung, prostate, colon, renal, etc.) and central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma are more likely in older patients (age > 65 years).


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